Henry Kirim, resident in Portland, left his apartment to retrieve something from his vehicle leaving the door unlocked. A man rushed inside locking the door behind him, Kirim’s 12-year-old son was still inside. Kirim then unlocked the apartment door with his key to find his son behind the intruder and the man had grabbed a kitchen knife and a 20-pound dumbbell and then rushed toward Kirim. The boy then ran outside and his father followed, backing out, and then yelled for neighbors to help.
The first 911 call came in to dispatch around 12:41 pm from a neighbor and at 12:49 dispatch noted that there were no available units to respond. Within the next 15 minutes the man raged through the apartment and fled out the back of the apartment still holding the knife.
Kirim and his neighbors ran after him and then caught him about a block away when he was trying to enter another home. Another call came into dispatch about a half-hour later, 1:22 pm. The man then sat on the ground and the neighbors crowded around him telling him he wasn’t allowed to leave while they waited for police.
Records from dispatch say that at 1:27 pm an officer was trying to get to units to go the scene. A neighbor placed a call to 911 around 1:55 saying that the people there were going to take “it into their own hands since police won’t show.” 2:10 pm dispatch noted that police were “working on sending someone”.
A few minutes later, Officer Ben Davidson, a canine handler, was headed back to Portland from Multnomah County and answered the call of the home invasion. Just five minutes before Officer Davidson showed up the man fled the scene as neighbors were no longer able to wait. Davidson said he was stunned, especially considering the circumstances, that no units were able to respond. He said it should have been immediate and that he’s never seen anything like this in the 17 years he’s been there.
Dianna McAllister, a neighbor, said that if police had arrived sooner they could have arrested the man. She added, “a weapon and a child was involved…They need to be responsive to stuff like that. Their response time is unacceptable.” Kirim said, “Every neighbor here was expecting the police to come. We called about a million times, and the police would not show up.”
Deputy Police Chief Chris Davis said, “This is not the service our community expects, nor is it what we want to provide.” But officers’ hands are tied as they face extremely limited resources and available officers. Since July 49 officers have retired, 9 have resigned, and several are injured or on vacation, severely limiting staff. The three precincts have 310 officers divided among them and 102 patrol officers don’t have full training. At the times the calls came in all other officers were already responding to other calls and/or preparing for protests that night.
“I told them what was going on, and the operator seemed to know because he had received so many other calls. I think it’s pretty sad because like anything could have happened to anybody here. It scares me because I can’t rely on the police to help us out.”Deja Sieles, Kirim’s neighbor
Sources and Photo: Oregon Live