PORTLAND, Ore. ( KOIN ) – The desire to serve her community is what drew Portland Police Bureau new hire Diana Rudakova to law enforcement. While she waits to attend the state police academy, she’s fulfilling her passion in another way by working for the Sunshine Division.
Rudakova was hired by the Portland Police Bureau in November and said she’s one of about 50 Portland new hires waiting to go to the police academy in Salem. The academy is experiencing a backlog, causing new law enforcement officers across the state to wait for training. OSP: 100-mph crash leaves 4 dead, 8-month-old girl injured
The state police academy has 40 students in a class and rotates four classes for a total of 160 students going through training.
In March, Rudakova will head to Salem to start her training. Until then, she’s learning to serve her community in another way.
“I am stationed at the Sunshine Division,” Rudakova said. “Our goal there is to build meal boxes for people that are homeless or families that are low-income.”
The Sunshine Division was started by a group called the Portland Police Reserve in the 1920s. Now, a century later, the nonprofit still maintains a close partnership with the Portland Police Bureau.
Rudakova was hired in November. She and a handful of other PPB new hires have been assigned to work at the Sunshine Division while they wait for their police training. Other new hires have been assigned to other tasks, such as helping the investigative unit with paperwork. $3M in unclaimed funds will be sent to Oregonians in February, with millions more sent later
Under state law, new police recruits are supposed to get training at least three months after hire, which isn’t happening due to capacity issues at the academy, first reported by The Oregonian .
For Rudakova, she’ll spend about four months working at the Sunshine Division before going to the academy.
So far, she said her time at the nonprofit has been very rewarding.
“It’s great to be part of something where I’m being helpful,” she said.
Kyle Camberg, executive director of the Sunshine Division, said the nonprofit started taking on PPB new hires in the spring of 2020 when the police academy closed due to the pandemic.
PPB was forced to look for a good use for the new hires and turned to the Sunshine Division.
Once the academy reopened, the bureau still assigned about four or five new hires at a time to work at the Sunshine Division while they waited for their academy dates.
“They have been wonderful and extremely helpful as we are far busier than we ever were pre-pandemic,” Camberg said. “So, having some extra hands to help get food boxes out to homes and all the other work that goes on behind the scenes has been a blessing.”
The new hires help with delivering the food boxes, food packing, box building, sorting, distributing food in the pantries and other logistical tasks.
“You really see the people that you’re going to be serving,” Rudakova said.
She said distributing the boxes has shown her what a positive impact the Sunshine Division has on the community. It also shows people how the Portland Police Bureau is helping play a role in feeding those in need. ‘It’s terrifying’: City of Portland, police step in to stifle dangerous Hendon house behavior
“I feel like it’s given me a new perspective and makes me really grateful for the situation I’m in and the life I have because there’s a lot of not-so-fortunate people in our community and a lot of them are great people, they’ve just had some bad luck,” Rudakova said.
The Portland Police Bureau has been working to improve its relationship with the community and Rudakova said that working with the Sunshine Division shows them in a different light.
The Sunshine Division also sponsors “shop with a cop” events, which provide more opportunities for Portland Police Bureau officers to connect with families in need.
Rudakova encourages anyone interested in supporting the Sunshine Division to drop off non-perishable food items at collection events or make a donation online. Copyright 2023 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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