The chief of police in Portland, Oregon has resigned from her post, choosing her black lieutenant as her replacement, according to the Washington Examiner.
Jami Resch, who is white, tendered her resignation to Mayor Ted Wheeler this week, naming Lt. Chuck Lovell as her pick to take over the position.
“This change starts with trust”
Resch took over as chief about six months ago. News of her decision to step down came during a news conference on Monday.
“Yesterday, I called Mayor Wheeler, and I asked him to support me and to support the Portland Police Bureau in being the beginning of the change that this city needs,” she said, according to the Examiner. “I believe this change starts with trust that absolutely must come from the heart. I have asked Chuck Lovell to step into the role as the chief of the Portland Police Bureau.”
While Lovell acknowledged that to “say this was unexpected would be an understatement,” he promised to do what he could to bring about the needed reforms.
“I told Chief Resch I would do everything in my power to help her during these challenging times,” he said, noting that he was “humbled” by her decision to name him to the post, according to KATU.
“I’m a public servant,” he added. “I’m going to show up every day with a servant’s heart. All I can do is be me. I’m looking forward to this journey.”
As the Portland Mercury reported, Resch’s resignation was effective immediately and the scope of her continued work with the bureau was unclear.
Lovell, a former member of the U.S. Air Force, was previously a school resource officer and had also been in charge of the city’s human trafficking bureau as well as the bureau’s crisis negotiation team.
In 2007, he was named in a lawsuit alleging he improperly handcuffed a student, but was found not guilty of wrongdoing by a jury.
Resch’s announcement is indicative of major reforms being proposed and adopted in police departments across the nation in the wake of extended protests against racial injustice and police brutality.
While polling shows a clear majority of Americans are sympathetic to those demonstrating, the solutions being prescribed vary widely and show there is little national unity about how to create a more just and equitable system of law enforcement.