Police Chief Turns Her Job Over to 'Exact Right Person'

Mayor had asked city to stop using tear gas against protesters last weekend
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 8, 2020 7:05 PM CDT

(Newser) – With the police department in Portland receiving heavy criticism from the ACLU of Oregon and others for its response to the protests, Chief Jami Resch considered what the city needs. The answer, she decided, was someone else as police chief. She turned to Lt. Chuck Lovell, who hadn't sought the job, the Oregonian reports. "You never wanted it," Resch told him Monday. "You were meant for it." The job offer stunned Lovell, 46, who will become Portland's fourth black police chief. But he said that "when your boss comes to you and says the community needs you,'' you have to take it. Resch called him "the exact right person at the exact right moment." Mayor Ted Wheeler, who ordered police to limit the use of tear gas on Saturday, said more changes are coming, per Oregon Public Broadcasting.

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Resch said she asked the mayor to support the change on Sunday, and he welcomed the new chief. "Together we will work on meaningful and bold reforms,'' Wheeler said Monday. Resch had only been chief since January, and activists pointed out that appointing a new chief in the past hasn't brought meaningful change to the department. Resch agreed that it's only a start. At the announcement, Lovell said what struck him most when he watched the video of George Floyd dying in police custody in Minneapolis was the lack of compassion among the officers, a problem that he said the community could come together to battle. "The fight is not with each other," Lovell said. "The fight is against that idea – that people, institutions, the agencies that can harbor that feeling in their heart." (Read more Portland, Oregon stories.)

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