Emergency leads to police questions


I wonder how many Lake Oswego citizens know that at any time, there are a total of three police officers in Lake Oswego on duty and available to respond to a call for help?

I always thought a lot more were on duty, seeing how often they are disseminating tickets all around Lake Oswego. Last Thursday, in over 100 degree outside temperature, I found this out the hard way. I just finished strapping my dog into her seat belt and I had the door lock on her with my keys in the vehicle.

I called 9-1-1 at 12:17 p.m. (the time it was registered) and the police officers were dispatched at 12:36 p.m. I later found out all three Lake Oswego officers on duty were on a domestic violence call.

I was panicked! The 9-1-1 dispatcher told me to call Pop A Lock, which never came. I called Pop A Lock at 12:19 p.m. When two of the three officers in separate police cars arrived at 12:40 p.m., they encouraged me to wait till Pop a Lock came as all they could do is break a window.

To them, my dog did not yet look to be in distress. At about 12:55 p.m. they wound up breaking the window to get her out, 38 minutes post my first 9-1-1 call.

During this time, I also called directly to the Lake Oswego police and spoke to Sue who informed me 'no officer/captain/chief is in the precinct - it is empty.'

I called the precinct directly because their officers took so long to arrive. Initially, I wasn't told they were on another call and would be delayed in their arrival.

Later, I called the precinct and spoke to Captain Hammonds, who advised me that three officers are all that are mandated to be on duty in Lake Oswego at any one time and all citizens know this. I then questioned why did I see five police vehicles on Aug. 12 all along Country Club Road giving out tickets, plus I saw several others in other Lake Oswego locations. He advised it was a sting, mandated by the county and was discussed in the paper. He advised, on a sting day, there are many more officers available.

I really don't understand why two officers had to come, but I'm hopeful they were not needed elsewhere. I questioned Captain Hammonds as to why the Fire Department wasn't called. He said it's not protocol. They only respond if there is a health issue.

He also told me about 15 years ago, locksmiths claimed the police and fire department were in competition with them when they were allowed to open car doors without having to break a window as their only alternative for the past 15 years.

Does this make sense, especially when this company, Pop A Lock, never came, despite a call being placed to them at 12:19 p.m. by me and then followed a short time later by my insurance company's road service division, another five calls both by me and the Lake Oswego police officers?

I would agree with this unlock policy in non emergency situations. However, locking a live being in a vehicle with a temperature inside the car at close to 150 degrees should warrant an emergency unlock by the police or fire department. What can we do to change Lake Oswego emergency policy and police allocations of three officers on duty at any one time?

I also want to thank the Siemens company that borders Rohr park where this incident happened for calling a locksmith, Tri-County Locksmith, when they saw how desperate the situation was in the parking lot. That company arrived within 15 minutes, unfortunately just after the police officers broke the window.

Renee Sloan is a Lake Oswego resident.