On April 8, 1992, Sidney Dean Porter viciously murdered Officer Frank Ward of the John Day (Ore.) Police Department.
Porter, who was in the midst of assaulting his wife, turned his fury against Officer Ward, beating the cop to death with a piece of firewood. He was convicted of aggravated murder and sentenced to life in prison.
It makes me sick to my stomach — angry practically beyond words — to have to report that the man who killed Officer Frank Ward may be allowed to walk free from prison next week (the only good news, I guess, is that we still may have a little bit of time to fight this utterly-knuckleheaded decision).
What part of the phrase “life in prison” do some people refuse to understand?
Presently, that is perhaps a question best directed to the Oregon Board of Parole and Post-Prison Supervision, which agreed to release Porter.
So, let's ask them.
Seeing as how the scheduled release date is next week (Friday, June 7, 2013), I suggest we start sending a whole bunch of emails to the parole board.
That email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Judiciary Committee of the Oregon Legislature reportedly held a hearing yesterday (Tuesday, May 28) to “press the board for answers about Porter's release,” according to The Oregonian.
I have reached out to Committee Chairman Jeff Barker, who is apparently a retired Portland Police Lieutenant, to get comment from him and/or further instructions on how you can take action.
In the event I receive such information, I will post an update in this space.
Meanwhile, I suggest you send an email to any member of the abovementioned Oregon House Judiciary Committee.
Actually, belay my last momentarily, and start by sending an email to Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber...
The nine members are listed below — simply click a name to generate an email directly to them.
• Jeff Barker
• Brent Barton
• Kevin Cameron
• Chris Garrett
• Wally Hicks
• Wayne Krieger
• Andy Olson
• Carolyn Tomei
• Jennifer Williamson
I spoke late this afternoon with Eric Bunday, a Sergeant with the Hillsboro (Ore.) Police Department and a vice president for the Oregon Fallen Badge Foundation. He is also one of the people behind this effort to prevent parole for Sidney Dean Porter.
“The folks in this who don’t have a choice for parole for their life sentence is the family of Officer Ward," Sergeant Bunday said. "Just like every other family of police survivors in this country, they’re the true victims — the innocent ones — and they’re the ones we’re sworn to serve and protect.”
“It’s our duty as police officers,” Sergeant Bunday continued, “that when we see an injustice being done to innocent victims to stand up and form that thin blue line that protects them. That’s what we’re doing here.”
Bunday tells me there’s one more person you can email. Representative Sherrie Sprenger is pro-cop, and will be introducting Bunday tomorrow morning on the floor of the Oregon House of Representatives.
Regular readers of this space know that on numerous occasions in the past half-decade or so, I’ve written on the subject of denying parole to cop killers. In fact, few subjects (if any!) have been more often a topic of my writing and analysis.
Together, we’ve been part of successful efforts — the collective actions taken by friends, family, and fellow-officers of the cops who were killed — which ultimately resulted in a cop killer being denied parole.
Let’s do it again.