Portland Mayor Seeks $2 Million to Fund the Police as Crime Rises in the City
The mayor of Portland, Oregon called for $2 million in a one-time funding for the police, other agencies and outreach programs. He is seeking these funds because of the spike in homicides and other violent crimes in the city.
This comes almost a year after city leaders voted to cut police funding by $16 million last June, amid the racial justice protests following the death of George Floyd. The funding decreased in June, eliminating the gun violence reduction unit.
Mayor Ted Wheeler requested the funding during his State of the City address March 12. The address was also three days after Wheeler condemned one of the latest killings in the city, the death of a 42-year-old man in a city park during broad-daylight.
“This shooting was brazen and horrific,” Wheeler wrote in a tweet March 9.
“The City and its partners are working hard to prevent and reduce gun violence. It’s a public health crisis that’s harming our entire community,” Wheeler wrote.
There have been 278 shootings, 58 injuries from shootings and 17 gun-related homicides in Portland as of March 8, according to the mayor’s office.
Portland has been at the epicenter of the “Defund the police” movement, making the request from Wheeler a big turnaround for the city. The movement seeks to move money from the police force, placing it into efforts such as mental health treatment and community development.
In a press conference, Wheeler said the money would help fund a patrol team that would be a different operation than the gun-violence reduction team that was disbanded last June.
“What’s going to be different this time, and Chief Lovell said it very clearly, they believe we need a prevention and intervention function, but he also made it clear that he would not stand that up unless the community supported it, unless there was community oversight, and unless there was the transparent collection and dissemination of data,” Wheeler said, according to KATU.