Its a big job, and Sizers right for it


The herky-jerky motions coming out of City Hall last week produced a reasonable, if not smoothly orchestrated, decision to name Rosie Sizer as Portland's new police chief.

We would have preferred to see Sizer evaluated against contenders from throughout the nation, and certainly it would have been better if Mayor Tom Potter hadn't announced his intent to conduct such a process, only to quickly abandon the idea. A national search would have given Sizer more credibility as she moves into her permanent role as chief.

But those reservations can't outweigh the fact that Sizer appears well-suited for the job.

City commissioners and others say she has served impressively during her 21 years with the police bureau and most recently that she has been willing to take charge and shake up the bureau during her brief stint as interim chief. They also say she will be her own person, fully able to manage the bureau under the direction of a mayor who once was chief himself.

Although we don't necessarily agree with Sizer's decision to promote former Chief Derrick Foxworth back into a commander's role, we have to admit that it showed backbone at a time when she could have taken an easier road.

Foxworth's continuing presence could yet pose a challenge for Sizer. Her most immediate goal must be to repair the bureau's relationship with the public, which was damaged by Foxworth's behavior and the investigation that followed. The chief must set a tone for acceptable interpersonal conduct within the bureau.

Beyond that close-range concern, Sizer needs to consider a long agenda of items, including: placing greater emphasis on community policing; addressing safety in downtown Portland; collaborating with other agencies on issues such as mental health-related crimes; and ensuring equal police treatment of all citizens without regard to race or ethnicity.

Despite mixed signals along the way, Potter made a solid choice in Sizer. He now needs to keep his mayoral focus on the broader vision of the city while allowing his chief to do her job.