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Niiiice! Officer nice gets a desk job!

Portland police commissioner suggests anger-management counseling for two sergeants involved in off duty, road-rage cases.
Portland police Sgt. Kyle Nice, who unholstered his gun during a road rage encounter while off-duty April 3 and was involved in the James P. Chasse Jr. death in custody case, will be taken off the street and assigned a desk job, likely in the bureau's emergency management office, Police Commissioner Dan Saltzman said Monday.

Saltzman said he made the decision, in consultation with Chief Rosie Sizer.

Nice is currently on family leave but expected to return to work soon. The motorist who accused Nice of "flipping him off" and pulling his gun on him in Washington County filed a lawsuit against Nice and the city of Portland on Friday.

Saltzman also called the separate off-duty road-rage encounters involving Nice and police union president Sgt. Scott Westerman disturbing, and suggested both officers could use anger-management counseling.

"I'm extremely embarrassed by this type of behavior,'' Saltzman said. "Our officers need to be exemplary in their behavior on and off duty...I would think anger-management counseling might be in order for the both of them.''

About 2:47 p.m. on April 3, motorist Neil Ruffin said Nice "flipped him off" at a stoplight in Washington County and yelled profanity at him. Ruffin followed Nice's pickup truck, and then pulled over. Nice, who had his six-week-old child in the car with him, pulled over in front of Ruffin. Nice got out of his truck, and stood behind it, with his gun to his side, and yelled, "You (expletive) can't drive you (expletive)."

Ruffin called 9-1-1, and said he then looked up and saw Nice holding his police identification, and tell him, "Go ahead and call the police."

Nice told a Washington county deputy sheriff that Ruffin ran a red light and almost hit his truck at Southwest Allen Boulevard and Scholls Ferry Road. Nice said he caught up with Ruffin at the Southwest Garden Home intersection with Oleson Road and rolled down his window. According to Nice, he raised his thumb and told Ruffin, "Nice, thanks for almost hitting me back there." Nice said Ruffin then followed him, and Nice said he pulled over because he did not want Ruffin following him home. He said he pulled his gun out because he couldn't see what Ruffin was doing or see his hands.

Meanwhile, Westerman, president of the Portland Police Association, also is under internal affairs investigation stemming from a woman's complaint that Westerman got out of his car and berated her and her husband on two occasions, two days apart in January. (To read initial story on the woman's complaint and hear her 911 call, read Saturday's story.)

Westerman, in an interview Friday, apologized and said he was embarrassed by his actions. He said he was off-duty and unarmed, and blamed his "inappropriate" actions on personal issues in his life.

According to Virginia Thompson, Westerman got out of his car early Jan. 28, and walked up to her Smart car and yelled at her for flashing her lights when they were stopped at a stoplight, at the I-205 southbound exit ramp connector to Southeast Stark Street. "He was just yelling and screaming at me, telling me to dim my lights," Thompson told police. "Well, they weren't on high, and he said, 'I'm a police officer. I can have you arrested.' And, he's standing there screaming at me.' "

Thompson got the license of Westerman's silver Grand Prix and called police non-emergency line. She likely got connected to the bureau's telephone reporting unit, which ran her plate and said it came back, "unable to locate."

About 9 a.m. on Jan. 30, Thompson said her husband, Jerry, was driving her Smart car and she was riding as a passenger, heading west on Southwest Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway when a car pulled in front of them, slammed on the brakes. Thompson's husband blinked his lights, and the other car moved off to another lane, then pulled up next to them at a stoplight. She said the same man got out of his car. "Came out yelling and screaming, 'Grow up!" I recognized it was the same guy," she told a Washington County dispatcher.

Westerman called it a "very bad coincidence" that he approached the same motorists.

Thompson called Washington County sheriff's office, and filed a complaint with Portland's Independent Police Review Division.

--Maxine Bernstein

Source:  link to www.oregonlive.com