BEND, Ore. - (Update: police comments; Wednesday hoax calls believed to be by same person)
On any given day, Bend Police Department officers respond to more than 200 calls for service. The department’s goal is to assign no more than nine of those calls to any given officer on his or her shift.
A rapidly growing population is making the department’s math more difficult, but so far, Bend PD’s 102 sworn officers are keeping pace with the growth. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, about 20 new residents move to Central Oregon every day.
Recent cases of "swatting" -- hoax calls to 911 about fictitious crimes -- can add to the challenges police face.
Bend police said they responded to six different calls Wednesday, all related to a hoax bombing alert in Southeast Bend. Lt. Clint Burleigh said late Thursday they are believed to have been made by the same person.
The department utilizes community service officers to assist with response to threatening calls.
There are nine community service officers working with Bend police. Community service officers differ from traditional police officers, as community service officers are sworn in as reserve officers.
Typically, they handle animal control, non- suspect criminal reports and traffic crimes. On Wednesday, community service officers closed off the perimeter in southeast Bend while officers investigated the alleged threat.
“They do a lot to free our police officers up,” Burleigh said. "They take these lower-priority calls, and there may be more of those. Community service officers allow our officers to be more proactive in minimizing how much crime is in the area by being proactive with making the community safer."