I met Officer Eric Zajac sipping coffee at the Rossi Farms barn. I expected police might be a bit guarded in this season of being heavily criticized yet undersupported to meet our community’s high expectations. Eric struck me as open and down to earth, so it was an honor to interview him.
He shares about growing up in a nomadic military family, studying at New Mexico State, Portland intriguing him because of its community policing model, what it’s like policing Portland in this era of distrust and increased homelessness, how these trends have affected him personally, and what it’s like working in the Parkrose area specifically.
You can write Eric at [email protected].
In the episode outro, I reference a clash between the Proud Boys and Antifa that happened in August 2021. You can read these articles to remember “yes, that actually did happen.” It was scary and upsetting, and it could have gone even worse.
- “Hands-off police strategy during violent Portland clashes confounds critics, wins praise from mayor” The Oregonian
- “Editorial: Stemming the deterioration in trust in police” The Oregonian
- “Gunfire erupts after Proud Boys and anti-fascists openly brawl in Portland without police intervention” OPB
- “Two Proud Boys charged for Aug. 22 violence in Parkrose neighborhood” OPB
- “Proud Boys, antifa violently clash on 122nd in East Portland” Portland Tribune
- “East Portland Proud Boys Rally Devolves Into Street Violence With No Police in Sight” Willamette Week
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