PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) – The director of the Portland Police Museum resigned amid concerns about the storage of old Police Bureau personnel files.
James Huff served as director for five years before resigning this spring. He told The Oregonian newspaper that the Police Bureau treated him well “until my last month,” when Assistant Police Chief Mike Crebs and others seized police personnel files from about 1910 to the 1970s.
He said city archivists were concerned that records were being handled by museum workers, who aren’t city employees.
City Archivist Diana Banning said her office learned the museum was storing old Police Bureau personnel records in a way that didn’t meet city security standards.
“One of the responsibilities the city of Portland Archives and Records Management Division has is to identify and secure city records stored in conditions that do not meet records storage and security standards,” Banning said. “These standards can best be met by housing the records in our facility.”
Huff said it bothered him that the seizure was done with “no coordination” with the museum. J.D. Chandler, a volunteer who helped Huff research and write the biographies of the city marshals and some police chiefs for the museum website, said the files were seized when Huff was out of town.
“They left the 16th floor a shambles up there,” Chandler said. “It was a confused mess.”
Retired Portland police Detective Dave Simpson, chairman of the historical society’s board, said he thinks the museum gained possession of the personnel files when the Police Bureau moved its headquarters three decades ago. The records were going to be destroyed and the museum stepped in to preserve them, he said.
“They’re supposed to be maintained in city archives,” Simpson said. “Finally, they got around to pick them up.”
The museum was closed to the public for about a month and a half following the departures of Huff and assistant museum director Leslie Pool.
It reopened this past week, with an officer’s college-age daughter getting paid through the summer to be there in case visitors stop in.
Information from: The Oregonian, http://www.oregonlive.com
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