Mike Krantz joined the Bend Police Department as chief in August 2020. Before coming to Bend, Mike served 27 years at the Portland Police Bureau, finishing his service there as the acting Assistant Chief of the Services Branch and responsible for the business operations of the largest police department in the state. Previously, he was the Commander of Central Precinct, leading a team of more than 160 sworn and 15 professional staff members in the heart of Portland.
Krantz holds a bachelor’s degree in Public Policy and Administration from Western Oregon University, is a graduate from the PERF Senior Management Institute for Police, holds a master’s degree from the University of Charleston in Strategic Leadership, and holds an executive certificate from the Oregon Department of Public Safety Standards Training.
Unknown Speaker 0:08
Like I said, my I've, I've worked a lot of my career in mechanic's enforcement. I've dealt with a lot of addiction through my career. I think probably, like many people, I've dealt with addiction in my family and seen the impact firsthand and what it does to people. What measure 110 did, I believe was really it was a wolf in sheep's clothing for our community.
Welcome to cascade views a discussion with Central Oregon leaders. Your host is Michael SIPE, local business and community leader Best Selling Author of the Avada principle and candidate for Oregon State Representative for House District 53, which encompasses southern Redman sisters tremolo in northern bend. The purpose of these discussions is to share the views and insights of local leaders from a variety of community sectors on a range of timely and important regional and state issues. With that, now, here's your host, Michael SIPE.
Michael Sipe 1:04
Thanks for joining us on cascade views. My name is Michael SIPE, and I'll be your host. My guest today is Ben Police Chief Mike Krantz. Mike joined the Bend Police Department as chief in August 2020. Before coming to band Mike served 27 years at the Portland Police Bureau, finishing his service there as the Acting Assistant Chief of the services branch and responsible for the business operations of the largest police department in the state. Previously, he was the commander of Central Precinct, leading a team of more than 160 sworn and 15 professional staff members in the heart of Portland Krantz holds a Bachelor's Degree in Public Policy and Administration from Western Oregon University is a graduate from the PRF Senior Management Institute for police holds a master's degree from the University of Charleston in strategic leadership, and holds an executive certificate from the Oregon Department of Public Safety Standard training. Chief Krantz has pulled away from what I know is a demanding schedule to share a few thoughts on some important public safety topics that affect us all. So it's my great pleasure to welcome him to the show. Hi, Chief.
Unknown Speaker 2:19
All right. Thanks for having me. Appreciate it.
Michael Sipe 2:20
You bet. Hey, before we get into some issues specific to bend, I'd love it. If you just tell us a little bit about your career in law enforcement, like what brought you to the profession. You've been doing this a long time? What do you like about it? And what's kept you at it for so long?
Unknown Speaker 2:36
Wow. Well, you talked a lot there about a lot of things that every time I hear that, I think back of 27 years and just an entire life in public service. And wow, I really go back to my teenage years where I was a cadet for Portland Police Bureau. I had an interest very young and become a police officer. I think it came out on several things. One of them was my mom was interested in law enforcement back she was a corrections officer from Oklahoma County. Just started got hired in Multnomah County a couple years before I got hired at Portland. So I've always had an interest of public service, and starting as a cadet, and then in college, I was I was a volunteer firefighter for Polk County. I worked at Marion County Juvenile Detention Center. And I worked for Washington County 911 When I got up from college until I got hired right when I was 21 with Portland Police Bureau. So I have a young kind of start in public safety and law enforcement and volunteerism. And so it's really all about service for me. And serving 27 years in Portland. I, I was really lucky, I had the opportunity to be in nearly every position in the organization as far as different units, different positions officer Sergeant Lieutenant Captain commander, Assistant t. So the whole whole rank structure and really see a lot. I spent a lot of time in street crimes units in drug enforcement, in gang enforcement in gun gun investigation cases, and a patrol. So I enjoyed a lot of the operations and more of the tactical work. But also in the in the end of my career in Portland, I was really lucky enough to be initially assigned as a captain to something that I think really laid the ground for me in understanding how administration or police management works a lot better. I was able to I was assigned to the strategic Service division where I had a entire group of crime analysts and crime data scientists and that really made me understand the value of data driven in policing, much more than I ever did as a police officer, and the understanding that, that facts and data should really drive how we police and where we put resources in policing and allocate our assets. And that was a huge learning curve for me, but it was so valuable. From there, I was able to be the Department of Justice Force inspector for the foreign police bureau. So every single time force was used, my office reviewed it, we understood how really looking at patterns of force and how that impacted training and service delivery. And then from there, I was able to move to Central Precinct, which was a incredible experience in learning a lot about really livability issues, and business impacts and the political side of policing, and then up to the assistant chief and the services side, which is all about a budget, personnel training. So there was so much there to learn that, in all that last couple of years is what really set me as an interest to continue on in management and look for, look for the opportunity. And then when it came up,
Michael Sipe 6:10
man, what an incredible career, you know, there's there's probably 10 different conversations we can have out of that like data driven, data driven policing. And like, I never heard of that. So many things there. What a career. But Portland's a pretty different place than Central Oregon. What was it like to work over there in law enforcement for so long? And and did you see the environment change over the years?
Unknown Speaker 6:34
Yeah, Portland, is it you know, that's a major city, it's major city police agency, one of the top 25 major city agencies. So working for a big police agency with when I started a little over 1000 officers when I left a little under 800. But that's a big agency. So there's a lot of opportunity, a lot of inner workings, a lot of demand and scrutiny from the community, from politicians from internally. But one of the things that I think was is significantly different is just the the quantity, the intensity, the level of really crime that you respond to as an officer on the street in Portland. And I think we're seeing that now, when we look at the news, we see the the number of shooting responses that officers go to, and that's not only a labor demand, where we talk about, you know, you have to have a certain number of police officers available to go to those calls and set up perimeters and conduct the investigations and, and do the follow up. But there's also a huge impact when you're a police officer, and you're going to a shooting a weak individually. Throughout your career, the trauma and the impact on a human being that that serves is is just, it's enormous. And that's frequently underlooked in policing in that. And we're getting better about it as a profession. But that impact is huge. And thank goodness, we don't have that high ratio of violent crime and bend that our officers are responding to that has happened in our community. So it's great for our community that our crime, or violent crime level is much much lower than major cities. But it's also good for officers that amount of trauma and constant. Just really constant involvement in high intensity situations is, is not as frequent. We still have them. Of course, we still have a lot of tactical situations and scenarios and bend. We have a lot of we have, you know, a lot of calls that our officers go to that are traumatic, they're they're violent, or they're, you know, human suffering somehow and officers steal that. But a major city it's so much more. The other I think huge thing is the way Portland's government is set up. City government is is unique in Portland, I think we all know that. But what that sets up for different from a city that has ran from the city management style government is the really the impact of the political winds. Every two or four years when Council changes in Portland. There's there's a lot of impact that that changes changes in the organization. We don't have that quite as much and bend when you have a city management run government where there's consistency and the expectation of service is consistent. And of course we set goals and we set priorities based on Council's goals. But the way we deliver service doesn't sway back and forth with political winds and frequently when you see the bigger cities ran the way Portland is which that is unique form of government. That was something to deal with in policing there was that that swaying back and forth dependent upon the politics that came into play as counsel and that's still going on. We're seeing that in Portland right when we watched the news but so that's a big difference between major city like that and and a midsize city like Ben being the fifth For six agency in the state of in size. So, resources, of course, is always a difference. In larger city city agencies, what you see is a lot of specialized units. So patrol officers to respond, write a report and send it to a unit. In mid sized agencies like what we do in Bend is our patrol officers are really, they're generalists. They respond, they take care of everything, they hold those investigations, they conduct them thoroughly, they follow up with them. We do bring our investigations unit in on more serious measure 11 type crimes or serious crimes where there's assistance needed. But the officer, by most part, carries most of their cases with them until resolution either the leads are all dried up, they got nothing left to do, or they make an arrest out of it, or they close the best application for no further probable cause. So there's, there's there's a huge difference in that that officers really are. They're really have the opportunity to be really generalized in their work, and learn a lot of things that maybe officers in larger cities don't get that opportunity to do.
Michael Sipe 11:07
As an outside observer, it appears to me that the last couple of years or so have been pretty demanding for police departments. So what are some of the general challenges that you and and let's stick with the Bend Police Department for the moment, but what are some of the general challenges that you've weathered and that you face today? Coming out of the last couple of years?
Unknown Speaker 11:30
Yeah, two years. The last two years have definitely been, I would say the most challenge I've seen over the 30 years or so I've been doing this. In that we're talking about challenges with recruiting, it's really hard to Well, let's go back there's there's a certain number of officers we need to perform the Public Safety Service we we provide for a variety of reasons, because the demand is high. So you of course need that labor group to satisfy the demand of the labor. But also, we need a certain number of officers on the street at all times to be able to handle something that for an officer safety scenario, as far as a tactical situation where you need a certain number of police officers to work for community safety. If we triage 911 calls, and we only have enough officers to answer one or two high intense hype 911 calls at a time and a third comes in, then we leave that third for a longer response time. So when you look at that need for labor, and then the really negative light that a lot of communities put on law enforcement last two years, it's of course, as you can expect, hard to recruit additional labor. Not a lot of people are interested going into a a profession, when they feel the perception whether it be on social media, or even small groups when they feel the perception is that Oh, nobody respects our profession. Nobody likes our profession. Nobody even wants those police officers in their community. And we know that's not the truth. We know that the negative people who really are anti police or or defund the police is by far the minority of our communities. And, but loud voices oftentimes get more attention. And we see it on social media too. So that perception is out there. So that becomes impactful to recruiting, it's hard to bring young people in into a profession when when they feel that or they see that on social media. And when you can't bring young people into the profession to start their 2530 year career, we see challenges in really the long term impact of the labor pool. And that's not just that's not just been in fact, we're lucky. And then that we are right now only three officers short of our authorized strength. We were down to 27 officers below our authorized strength mid last year. But where we really see that as I talked to a lot of other chiefs and sheriffs and around the state and and around the country, and this isn't just a ban, this isn't just a state, this is nationally, we're seeing agencies having trouble bringing people into the profession, and that will impact long term. What we also saw in the last two years was people who could retire, they left they were done. There was there was so much I think fear of the over really or over a critical review of anything that officers did that if they were able to retire, they decided that was the time to pull the plug and get out of there and finish your career and be done and, and be happy to serve a nice long career to the community. But what that did was a lot of agencies lost a tremendous amount of experience. A tremendous amount of people who have been highly trained, who were coaches who are training officers, and it leaves agencies young. And what we see with our more senior officers frequently is they have that experience to de escalate to investigate to Bring a column to calls for service. And that's what we want pass down to our new officers. So that's also a big loss when you have people retire with that you hoped would hang on another couple of years. But they retire when they could. And again, that was a national trend. But we did, as at Ben certainly had some impact on that as well.
Michael Sipe 15:21
That's going to be super big management challenge. But you're doing some great things to even in the face of it, because I think if I if I remember, right, there's been some pretty positive advancements made it the police department. Maybe like there's something the only way I know how to say it is spider but it's SPI Dr. Tech. And so I don't know, you maybe you can explain just a little bit about that. But then there's also the Ben Police Department Community Academy, would you mind just sharing briefly a little bit about those programs?
Unknown Speaker 15:50
Yeah, I think, you know, as, as we see a lot of these changes in law enforcement, a lot of what we do still, and it's been something since I started law enforcement, it's really about building trust that community continuing to be a legitimate policing force in the community. And you really do that through transparency through sharing what you do through teaching people what you do, through asking people, how are we doing? What's our customer service look like? I mean, ultimately, but it all boils down to it, we're providing customer service. It's different than a retail store, but we're providing that right. So our job is is you know, with with, even if we have short, short staffing, and even if we go through two years of a lockdown, and we have a lot of anti police sentiment around the nation, which we're seeing that pendulum swing back, which is very good and healthy, I think for our communities and the safety of our communities. But so we continue to look forward to this Bend Police Department, we're progressive agency, we always have been, I'm continuing to hold that tradition as as close to my heart, meaning, we look for things to make us better all the time. Whether it be new technology, whether it be how can we have a better or deeper engagement opportunities, something like the police chiefs advisory council that, that we're starting up something like the Community Academy, where we brought in a group of community members who apply it for the ability to come to a 13 week, every Tuesday night for three hours Community Academy where they basically went through a miniature police academy, in some respect in that all of our units came in, they talked about what we did, they went through hands on training and scenarios, they really got in depth opportunities to ask questions about what we did. And that is all about educating. That's all about teaching people what we do. You may have heard me say before, I continue to say it is there's not a lot of police not a lot of things in policing that secret. I think there's that perception from you know, when I started, there just wasn't a lot of sharing of what we did. But other than those confidential, open investigations in cases that we're working on, sometimes about some of the specialized tactics that we do, because we want to keep our officers safe. Other than that, there's not a lot of secrets in policing, and there shouldn't be we're, we're able to share what we do with our community, educate them on what we do. And those those things that we have going on are really those opportunities to bring people in to show up. SpiderTech is new technology is really the only one in Oregon, so far to start this program, but it is all about providing good customer service. One of the things we do is a biannual survey to 10,000 households. So a statistically valid survey in the city event, every two years and one of the consistent, we get consistently really good remarks. So we have high public trust, we have like high all high marks. But one of the things that's typically low is the follow up piece where people felt like they didn't know what to do afterwards, they didn't get the information they needed, as far as a case number, who to contact or what to do. So we started looking around, how can we improve that and make people feel more valued when we deliver service and give them the information they need. So we found SpiderTech as an option, opportunity for that as technology driven. It's a fairly simple process, really that text message setup through the system of 911. And when someone calls us they get a text message back gives them basic information, and tells them what to do next, provide some links. And then at the end, it provides a survey opportunity, a volunteer optional survey where people can answer six, six or eight fairly simple questions, but it's really all about procedural justice. If you really look at it. It's basically the questions are as did we offer the community member a voice? Do they have the ability to talk and we listened? Were we respectful, where we come in from a position of neutrality? So we didn't show any biases and were we trustworthy? Do they trust that we were doing the job? And that's what SpiderTech is, and we're getting great results from it, that we're able to use and understand where we need to improve at it. And it's a really great program. In fact, I believe Arizona just passed a law that all agencies have to have something like this in place. So I'm proud to be the first one Oregon to, to pioneer this program.
Michael Sipe 20:15
Well, thanks for leading the way on that. Let's talk about Ben specifically. Now, according to all the recent polls I've seen in Oregon and Portland, in Deschutes. County, according to all recent polls, public safety, homelessness, mental health and addiction are issues at the top of people's concerns. So first of all, give us your perspective on crime rates overall. And then and then I want to talk to you just a little bit about the or talk with you a little bit about the other issues, but But how are we doing in band overall in terms of crime rates and stuff?
Unknown Speaker 20:48
Yeah, so public safety is always, I think, over 30 years, something in the top top concerns of community members. And it should be right as people want to feel safe, everybody, no matter where they're from, where they're living, where they're at, they want to feel safe. And just as much about that feeling of safety as the perception of Am I safe, regardless of the data. But so it's the feeling and the true data, where you combine that and say where we're at? Well, in Ben, we're unique in that we have grown tremendously over the last five years, and we continue to grow, we have a multi million tourism industry that comes in we have millions of visitors a year, more than I would venture to say more than most other cities in the state, I'm not going to guarantee that but we have a lot of tourists. And we have constant growth. But overall, when you look at the crime rates have been for the last five years compared to that growth by the ratio, we have a crime reduction in violent crime especially, or person crimes, we have a slight increase in property crimes by numbers. But what again, when you look at the ratio compared to population tourism, I believe that's actually reduction as well. Some people say that there is a bit of an apathy of people just saying, Well, I'm just not gonna report it. So that's why there's reduction in crime. The thing is that that certainly may be true, there's a certain number of people who don't report small level or lower level crimes. But that's always been the case. That's nothing new. There's certain people who just, you know, reporting their posts stolen isn't a big thing to them. So you're always going to have those plus or minuses generally. But when you look at the numbers, we're a safe community then is a very safe community. We have a low violent crime rate, we have a low person person crime rate. And so overall, we're saying, what we see is, I think the community sees more visible things like homelessness, and that leaves a feeling or perception. And our perception is, are we safe?
Michael Sipe 23:00
That's great news. But it's a great segue into into two other questions I want to ask you about and we don't have a whole lot of time left. You could probably talk for hours on both of these, but but can you just give us a little high level perspective on measure 110 That's the decriminalization of drugs measure that was passed. And then thoughts about its impact, maybe on homelessness, mental health and addiction here in Bend?
Unknown Speaker 23:25
Yeah, so like I said, my I've, I've worked a lot of my career in narcotics enforcement. I've dealt with a lot of addiction through my career, I think, probably, like many people have dealt with addiction in my family, and seen the impact firsthand of what it does to people. And I've also had had seen many people go to prison for PCs now maybe not the original possession charge, but maybe the probation afterwards or multiple impacts of probation. I've also seen a lot of people that have been arrested for drug possession, something right now that will be a violation, but were arrested for it and were treated through drug courts and stopped courts and mandated treatment and that saved their lives. What measure 110 Did I believe was really it was a wolf in sheep's clothing for our community. I think it was sold to our community as a way that we're going to keep people who are simply have Addiction Disorder out of prison. Well, those people with addiction disorders, we're not going to prison already. And I believe it was a first attempt to fully legalize or legitimize drug possession, hardcore drug possession, we're talking meth, cocaine, heroin, things that we don't want in our community things that we don't want our kids getting ahold of things that we don't want our neighbors and friends and family to get addicted to, because it's destructive. And a lot of the money for ballot measure 110 came from out of state it wasn't even from in state and our state passed it by a good majority. And a lot of in law enforcement, a lot of us had really big worries that this was going to be not as promised. And I think we're seeing that in that the the addiction treatment money that was promised if the money's there, but it's not being used. The the penalty for being stopped with a low level possession drug now hardcore drug is $100 ticket. So it's less than a speeding ticket, some scenarios, and the outcome of that is in order to get out of it, you need to call a phone number, and then the tickets dismissed. And so so they're in NP don't show up. There's no, there's no penalty as well. So there is no more forced treatment, there is no evaluation done saying, hey, in order to get out of this, and to help you, you need to go to treatment. And here's your program. There is optional volunteerism program, out of this citation practice now. And it's destructive. We're seeing it and it's not just from law enforcement. Now, what we're seeing is providers, social service providers, other people seeing it as well and saying, Yep, this was not what we thought, Is it keeping people out of prison for possession? Certainly. But the true people who benefited from this law probably was not our community. Most likely it was the cartels were bringing tons and tons of illegal narcotics into our country and now have a free market in the state of Oregon, sell it to users and prey on people who have Addiction Disorder and destroy them and their families.
Michael Sipe 26:33
And I hear you, it's really a mess. You know, as we wrap up here, though, I just got to ask you a little bit about the issue. That's, that's at the top of the polls everywhere. And that's not just in band, but across the state. But that's the homeless issue. I wonder if you could share a couple of thoughts as police chief on the homeless issue here. And Ben? Yeah,
Unknown Speaker 26:55
it's a challenge. It's a challenge everywhere. I think everybody from every different angles, trying to find a solution and trying to fix homelessness, solve homelessness. Based on what I think I've seen, in my experience, and 30 years of doing this job on the streets, I don't think you're going to solve homelessness, I think you can probably create programs and opportunities for people to take the next step if they choose to. And to get out of whatever life they're in. But there's so much impact. So many things impacted it, and everyone's an individual. So even if you come up with this magical program, that is for drug addiction issues, you're still going to have a vast majority of people who have other issues, that that's not the reason they're homeless. So homeless, to me is a symptom of something else. And everyone has their own kind of their own solution to what that is, and what their needs are met. Maybe it's mental health treatment, maybe it's Drug Addiction Disorder, maybe it's job training, family, trauma, domestic violence, there's so many what ifs that could cause homelessness as one of the issues. But the impact is, it's just so visible now. So people are seeing it, and realizing that, that it's impacting not only the the individuals who are on the street, or living in tents, or under pallets or in bushes, but it's impacting the communities that they're in, it's been packed in and livability. It's impacting safety and perception of safety. It's the one thing I really know is that homelessness is not a police issue. And for years, what we saw was communities not stepping up and trying to find solutions and trying to find alternatives to someone sleeping in the right of ways in a tent, and communities meaning so service providers, governments, everyone who could provide some sort of health. And what we saw was a just been deferred to the police. And the police got very involved in homelessness and and clearing camps and addressing criminal activities and problematic behavior, frequently to the point where there was not a lot the police could do not a lot of it was criminal. So what we're seeing, though, is this pull back from the police and realizing by our community at large, that homelessness is not a policing issue. It's not a law enforcement issue. The cops aren't going to do anything to go out and respond to a tent on the street and fix it somehow. Because there has to be a structure of truly either some sort of option for that person. And I think that's what we're seeing right now. Do we have the solutions as a community? I don't think we do. I don't think we'll ever have all the solutions. Are there providing more opportunities for people? I think that's what we're seeing is the development of opportunities for people to take a step if they're willing to and not everyone is willing to as well. And I've seen this impact for years it's it's not So it's new to some of the communities but it's not new to all communities, I think that's what people see is visibly that that is more visible now. And that's what's impacting more, I think, attention and focus on it. Also more availability of resources for, for different options.
Michael Sipe 30:20
I would love to maybe we can do this again sometime, because I would love to dig into this topic a little bit more, but we got to wrap up here. So as as a final question, do you have any public safety advice for bend residents? I mean, you got a hard job to do, how can we be better citizens and help you help us and keep our town safe?
Unknown Speaker 30:40
Yeah, we have a great community, I just, you know, I want to throw that out there as we have a lot of support in the community for, for public safety. And that's a really important piece. First, right is we respect our community, but our community respects us. So that's, that's a big piece for the relationship, the trust building, but I always get complaints about traffic. That's one of the things that people see. And, and it's problematic. And it's about public safety and community safety. Overall, we have a lot of collisions. One of the biggest things I would say is for folks just pay more attention when they're driving, slow down, and don't be on a phone and be sidetracked. And it really, because that's about public safety and injury and preventing crashes. The other part is, is we really encourage people to call and report crime, because that's an important piece for us, it helps us look at data helps us look at trends, we may not solve it, we may not even respond to a very low level fact and they go online, but that data to us is important. And it tells us the story, when we look at it, and it gives us ideas of how to deploy our assets what we do. So those are some of the things right off the top of my head.
Michael Sipe 31:51
Wow, it's been great having you on the show, Mike, my main takeaway, while there were a lot of takeaways, but my main takeaway, I think, is just the encouragement of the professionalism of the bend, police department and technological advancements in the community engagement advancements and all of those things that you talked about that really kind of help weave the police department into the community in a really, really smart way. So thanks for all of that. Thanks for your leadership. Thanks for serving. And, and thanks for being on the show.
Unknown Speaker 32:28
Well, thank you. I appreciate it. I'd love to come on again. There's a conversation.
Michael Sipe 32:31
Yeah, we'll do that. There's just way too much to talk about. For 20 some odd minutes. So my guest for this show has been Ben Police Chief Michael Krantz. Next time you see a Bend Police Officer, give them a smile on a wave. I don't know how much we appreciate them and the work they do to protect and serve our communities. You can learn more about the Bend Police Department at bend oregon.gov government departments police, you'll figure it out, just go to bend oregon.gov and chase down the links and learn more about our local police department. Thanks for tuning in.
Thanks for listening to cascade views with Michael SIPE. To find out more about Mike the upcoming election. The key issues he's focused on in his campaign to represent Central Oregon and Salem as a state representative. Visit www dot a voice for Central oregon.com that's www dot a voice for Central oregon.com You can get your own copy of Michael sites best selling book the Avada firstname.lastname@example.org. And finally, please vote in the upcoming election. Your Voice Matters