Record-setting homicides in Portland leaves Mayor wanting less cops, more unarmed personnel

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PORTLAND, OR – Mayor Ted Wheeler of Portland wants more unarmed personnel for non-emergency calls and no new positions for sworn-police officers in his new budget.

The Mayor’s budget plan revealed that the Portland Police Bureau (PPB) has asked for 665 sworn officer positions, yet the Mayor has suggested 598.

 

 

Mayor Wheeler said,

“It’s definitely a tougher sell here.

There is no doubt in my mind that we are critically understaffed and that’s why this budget includes money not only for recruiting.

We obviously have vacancies to bring in more certified officers.”

The Mayor said that he wants to add 300 additional positions to the Portland Police over the course of the next three years. This would mean 200 sworn officers and 100 civilian non-sworn officers. However, the focus is the non-armed individuals.

In taking money away from the Portland Police, Mayor Wheeler will reallocate the funding to the city’s non-emergency Public Safety Specialist team. He is seeking to add 32 new spots on the “PS3s” team, which would make the team be comprised of 70 members.

 

 

He remarked:

“How do we utilize the demand side for the officers we have most effectively?

Where they need to be utilized are high-acuity emergency, criminal activity that is happening right now.”

PS3s are allowed to respond to non-emergency calls, take police reports, and perform other duties that are considered non-emergency to give sworn police officers more time to do their jobs.

In addition, Mayor Wheeler hopes to increase the non-emergency 311 line to be managed 24-hours a day. He also wants to add to the Portland Street Response Team. This team is responsible for helping those with mental health and behavioral health matters.

The Street Response team is overseen by the Portland Fire Bureau. This would increase their team to 56 from the current 22. This team is allowed to respond to various calls but its main focus is homelessness. Wheeler says, it is the number one issue. Full stop.”

Mayor Wheeler sees homelessness as a main priority. In response, he has proposed spending more on shelters and supportive housing as well as increasing the availably of affordable housing.

He noted during his press conference:

“You will not see me relent in getting people off the street as quickly and as humanely as possible.

For me, that has meant not only to talk about supportive housing, but I have been relentless in saying we need temporary shelter to get people out of dangerous and squalid conditions on the street.”

 

 

This $6.7 billion budget is intended to combat “the root causes of the challenges” that the city faces. These include homelessness, public safety, and affordability.

This budget is set to put more than $85 million into services that assist homelessness.

The budget also includes $13 million for the prevention of gun violence. Also mentioned in the budget is $2.2 million for the cleaning of graffiti, $1.25 million for trash cleaning, and $4.7 million for paving.

 

 

These additional funds came from business tax revenue accrued over the past year resulting in the $34.8 million in excess funds.

 

https://fundourpolice.com/

Report: Three months into 2022 and police-defunded Portland is on track to surpass its homicide rates from 2021

PORTLAND, OR- According to a report from Daily Mail.com, with just three months into 2022, the city is already on track to surpass 2021’s record-breaking homicide rate.

 

Murders are up 10 percent as police-defunded Portland continues to struggle to curtail violent crime. According to the Oregonian, Portland topped off February with 22 murders, compared to the 19 in 2021 during the same time.

If violent crime does not stop, Portland is on track to hit nearly 130 homicides by December. After facing a detrimental budget cut in the wake of protests over the death of George Floyd, Portland set a record in 2021 with 92 homicides – the highest since 1987 when there were 70.

As Portland’s elected officials embraced calls to defund the police in 2020 and 2021, the Portland Police Bureau (PPB) lost several officers to retirements and resignations.

A total of $15 million was initially slashed from the city’s budget while at the same time progressive Portland prosecutors were being blamed for the spiraling crime for refusing to charge 70 percent of people arrested by the city’s police.

On Tuesday, March 15th, Portland leaders in law enforcement and criminal justice addressed the topic of gun violence within the city during a virtual moderated Q&A session by the Portland Peace Initiative.

 

The virtual forum took place two weeks after the latest homicide within the city. On March 1st, Mark Johnson was shot and killed near Dawson Park in broad daylight.

Leaders with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Portland Police Bureau (PPB), the Justice Department, the District Attorney’s Office, and the City of Portland were in attendance. FBI Special Agent in Charge Kieran Ramsey said in a statement:

“Maybe 25 years ago in my career, we would see a shooting scene with four or five rounds, shell casings, on the ground. It’s not uncommon for law enforcement to now find 40, 50, 80, even one hundred shell casings. That’s an unprecedented level of bullets flying around the street.”

https://fundourpolice.com/

He added:

“We know if we are doing well just by the number of shootings going down. As a result, the number of shooting injuries going down and the number of homicides going down. Unfortunately, that’s not the case right now. We are on a record setting pace, yet again.”

During the virtual forum, Portland Police Chief Chuck Lovell said that community trust is key and that it has been hard to get witnesses, even victims of a crime, to come forward without that trust. He said in a statement:

“You try to reconcile your desires to build trust and do community engagement, and then you realize too, you’re part of a system that has had bad outcomes for people, particularly people of color.”

 

While Ramsey and others at the forum try to blame the rise in homicides on guns, they are ignoring the reality that a person is behind every pulled trigger, with many being known to the police.

Cheryl Albrecht, the chief criminal judge for Multnomah County Circuit Court, said that one of the reasons the city is seeing more repeat offenders or individuals charged with additional crimes while they’re out on bond is because it is taking far longer to bring cases to trial than it did before the pandemic hit. Albrecht said in a statement:

“It’s everything. It’s the pandemic, it’s staffing shortages, lack of resources. You can’t keep someone behind bars for an extended period of time without a court-appointed attorney. That just is a constitutional crisis.”

The judge added:

“Which brings us to perhaps the most complicating factor of all in Oregon’s criminal justice system right now: a shortage of public defenders and extreme case overload. There are maybe 150 people or so who have been arraigned in the last several weeks who have not been able to receive appointed counsel because we don’t have enough court appointed attorneys to appoint them.”

On Monday, March 7th, Metropolitan Public Defender (MPD), which is Oregon’s largest provider of public defense services, started a four-week pause on accepting new felony or misdemeanor appointments in Washington County.

In Multnomah County, they haven’t been accepting new minor felony appointments since January 10th. For reference, most auto thefts are minor felonies.

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Portland Antifa attacks family-friendly GOP rally in park; 911 callers put on hold as police arrive after rioters leave

This article contains editorial content by a staff writer for Law Enforcement Today

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PORTLAND, OR – Clearly, we at Law Enforcement Today support the police. Many in this organization ARE police. We are owned and largely staffed by current and retired law-enforcement officers.

But we have to ask our brothers and sisters in the Portland Police Bureau what they were thinking when a small, Republican gubernatorial rally literally at its doorstep, attended by the elderly and children as well as young adults, was allowed to be terrorized by violent Antifa criminals?

 

Why did it take 20 minutes for even one officer to walk out the front door and show support for our political process as well as our right to peaceably assemble and exercise our freedom of speech?

What does it say about your police department?

We expect extreme disrespect for conservatives under Portlandia’s feckless Mayor Ted Wheeler and proud, cop-hating City Commissioner JoAnn Hardesty. We understand that your department is severely understaffed but we are troubled that it took officers 20 minutes to show up, only to take statements and leave.

The incident in question made national news and contributes to many Americans’ perception that Portland is lawless and dangerous.

Black bloc-clad Antifa criminals descended on and attacked participants of the Saturday noontime rally, throwing smoke canisters, mortar fireworks, paint-filled balloons and other objects at the families.

They also used noisemakers to drown out the group, thus canceling their freedom of speech, attendees said.

 

 

 

The attack happened in a park on the corner of SW Third Avenue and SW Main Street during a rally for Republican Mayor Stan Pulliam of Sandy, Oregon, who is running for governor.

Attendees said they were put on hold when they called 911 for help.

Police officers from the understaffed Portland agency reportedly took more than 20 minutes to respond. By the time they had “sufficient resources” to establish a crime scene, authorities said, the Antifa members had already wreaked their havoc and dispersed.

After police finally arrived, Pulliam spoke to reporters about the experience. The candidate, who is running on a platform to “re-fund” the police, said:

“We called the police, we called 911. In fact, at the Justice of Peace Center, we were just outside of their headquarters, sat on hold for over 20 minutes. No police officers ever arrive until the very end, just to take our statement.”

At least two people sustained injuries during the Antifa attack, authorities said.

According to the Portland Police Bureau, one adult male reported an injury to a hand and an adult female complained of hearing loss. Police also reported property damage from Antifa lobbing paint-filled balloons at vehicles.

Pulliam shared video of the incident and tweeted:

“This is what happens when a Republican dares to hold an event in Portland to talk about funding our police. Antifa shows up. Well, we won’t be intimidated and stop speaking the truth.”

statement from the PPB confirmed that while a sergeant began monitoring the situation and gathering available resources, there “were only a few officers available in the precinct.”

 

Pulliam contrasted the agency’s response to this frightening situation with a strong police force just a few decades ago, when Portland had 30 officers per 100,000 people to the present-day ratio of eight officers per 100,000 people. A proponent of fully funding and staffing the police force, Pulliam added:

“And then we wonder why we have all the violence and destruction happening on our streets.”

The incident came the same day that the PPB released a statement, which you can find here, describing Friday night into Saturday as “an extraordinarily busy evening of significant events” that strained their resources. The night included five shootings, three serious crashes and one stolen ambulance within a 12-hour span, the department said.

 

On Friday, officers responded to a call about Antifa terrorists attacking the People’s Convoy as it passed through Portland by throwing rocks, paint-filled balloons and fireworks from an Interstate 205 overpass. Traffic came to a halt on the high-speed freeway as the attack from above continued, video from a motorist shows.

The sound of one gunshot can be heard near the end of the video. No one appears to have been injured by either the items dropped from the overpass by Antifa or a trucker’s response to the dangerous incident.

The People’s Convoy truckers and supporters were attacked by known Antifa members who dropped projectiles, paintballs, eggs, and other objects at passing motorists in hopes of injuring drivers and stopping the convoy.

The attack, which could have turned deadly, was openly organized on Twitter, according to PJ Media.

 

Police said evidence was removed from the scene before they arrived and no arrests were made.

The lack of arrests for such openly hostile and dangerous incidents against fellow citizens is something Portland residents are slowly learning they have to tolerate. In fact, just getting to speak with an officer seems to be a rarity.

Given limited staffing, Portland residents calling 911 are often left on hold for hours during evening spikes in calls.  Police are forced to prioritize calls based on seriousness. Pulliam addressed this issue with the press:

“[This is what] neighbors throughout the Portland community have to experience on almost a daily basis.”

PPB Public Information Officer Sgt. Kevin Allen explained to KATU that the department is strained but that it attempts to answer all calls for assistance. He said:

“We’re pretty good, generally, at deploying resources to the area of the highest need. It’s been a while since I could say that I feel like we have enough cops to do everything that we want to do to keep the public safe.”

Still, there were no arrests made after the Antifa attack on the peaceful campaign rally in a downtown Portland park.

 

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