Houselessness

Stop The Sweeps Eugene Responds to EPD’s New Hiring Video 

Last week, the Eugene Police Department released a new, almost two-minute-long, promotional video titled “Come serve with us” advertising that they are hiring. This week, Stop The Sweeps Eugene is responding to it in a statement to Double Sided Media

“Apply now! Eugene Police has a new posting open for police officer. We are looking to hire the best, those who want to be relevant in this career. If you are someone who can perform multiple tasks with ease, you are calm under pressure, you are a good communicator and you care about people, you may have the skills necessary to be a good police officer.”

Video description from EPD’s hiring video

The video, which features Roman P’s dramatic and suspenseful electronic instrumental song “Skull Garden,” includes a few notable scenes that certainly do highlight EPD. 

Some key moments:

00:04 — Towards the beginning of the video, two EPD officers can be seen standing in front of a police cruiser arresting a man wearing an orange jacket. Behind them is another police cruiser in a rather cinematic pose.

00:08 — An EPD officer runs alongside Korbin Williams and other Oregon Ducks football players as they run onto the field at Autzen Stadium. The next shot shows another officer standing on the field while the camera pans around and shows him surrounded by thousands upon thousands of glimmering lights from the stadium stands. 

00:42 — EPD officers have either pulled-over, or are investigating, a U-Haul truck. The next shot shows another officer standing next to who appears to be a houseless man, which based on the context of the video, was living in the truck. 

00:53 — An EPD officer walks past a houseless individual’s tent and belongings underneath what appears to be an overpass.  

01:01 — An EPD officer, or hopefully a stunt driver, makes a fast driving maneuver and spins a cruiser around towards the camera.  

“Beyond the absurd soundtrack, blockbuster narration, and Michael Bay-style explosions, this video is actually quite transparent about the true nature of the police force in Eugene,” the statement begins. “EPD is revealing the way they truly view themselves, the things they actually do, and who it is they are trying to attract to the force.”

Without question, the video doesn’t show a single positive interaction between police officers and the houseless community — or actually anyone for that matter. High-fiving and passing out stickers to children don’t actively count as “helping.” 

“Every single example of police in the field shows an officer arresting an elderly, working-class or seemingly unhoused person (indicated by their dirty hands or workwear), or shaking down an encampment, while deluding themselves that they are heroes,” STSE’s statement reads. “In this way, the video is an astoundingly accurate depiction of what police really do in Eugene.”

STSE said “EPD couldn’t even be bothered to feign making themselves look like they do anything helpful, real, or relevant. No strained, falsified scenes showing meal assistance, no examples of mental health support, no instances of helping someone to receive services or safe housing.” Furthermore, they said that “this video perfectly encapsulates EPD’s viewpoint on their place in our community; we are here to receive their violence.”

Their statement continued by noting an interesting absence: CAHOOTS. “The Eugene Police Department is unique in that they have been working alongside the longest standing mobile crisis response program in the country,” they said. “It is notable that nowhere in this video do they show themselves working with CAHOOTS, which is actually a significant and integral part of true public safety in Eugene.”

Taking the absence further, STSE broke down the cost of CAHOOTS versus EPD’s hiring:

“The true cost of employing an officer is actually around $150k per year. The production of the video likely cost near that. That amount of funding could have hired several CAHOOTS workers for the severely under-resourced program at their current (below standard living) wage, or a few first responders at the wage they deserve. It could purchase two custom CAHOOTS vans, of which they are in need in order to expand and stabilize to meet the demand of their services. It could have been used to feed and house residents of Eugene, distribute harm reduction supplies, provide medical access, or rental assistance.”

Screenshot of the City of Eugene’s “Current Job Openings” page that shows the entry for EPD officer.

“We don’t want friendlier cops or a police department with smarter budgeting. We want an end to capitalism and the carceral system,” STSE concluded. “Skinner’s repeated and subtly panicked insistence that “cops are still relevant” is very telling; they are desperate.”

Leave a Reply Cancel reply