Portland Police Union releases five-year plan
The police union has released what it calls a “five-year vision for public safety and policing,” which suggests hiring an additional 840 officers over five years.
PORTLAND, Ore. – The Portland Police Association (PPA), the union representing Portland’s grassroots policing, has released what it calls a “five-year vision for public safety and policing,” calling for a further increase 800 new officers.
“The police force was larger 20 years ago than it is today, with about 170,000 fewer people in the city of Portland,” said PPA executive director Daryl Turner.
The increase would bring Portland’s agent per capita rate from 1.36 to 2.5 agents per 1,000 population.
Turner said the city currently has 916 sworn positions. There are 794 positions currently filled, 59 of which are in training.
Despite the difficulty in filling the vacant positions it currently has, the PPA suggests that the city hire 840 more agents over the next five years, nearly doubling the workforce. The plan would include rehiring 50 recently retired agents over each of the next two years, and an aggressive recruiting effort to attract new agents. The PPA’s plan also suggests lobbying the state to allow Portland to set up its own police academy to train large numbers of recruits and work.
“We have been operating on fumes for several years, so we offered several options to improve the patrol function of our organization for the next few years as well as to train new officers coming into the fold over the next five years. years, ”Turner said.
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Turner heads the Police Union at a difficult time. Gun violence is approaching record levels, and police say force is stretched to respond to shootings across the city.
“People who are victims of violent crime have to wait eight minutes for a response from a police officer. This is unacceptable and it is not the fault of the officer 30, it is the fault of not having the adequate staff that we have. need to support a city and a metropolitan area that we need to support, ”Turner said.
In 2020, Portland City Council cut the Portland Police Department’s budget by $ 15 million. Many argue that more officers is not the answer to the gun violence crisis in the city. Unite Oregon is a group calling for more money to be diverted from the police budget.
“This is clearly a negotiating tactic… As residents of Portland, we should ask ourselves: is the solution to the problems we face in spending more money on PPB? Or is it to fund community-centered solutions like behavioral health and affordable housing? ”Sushma Raghaven, deputy director of Unite Oregon, wrote.
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Some of the money cut from PPB’s 2020 budget was used to fund the Portland Street Response, a police alternative that responds to calls involving homeless people or people facing a mental health crisis who would not have need to involve a police officer. So far, it only works in a small pocket in southeast Portland, but researchers have pushed the city to expand it.
The police union is currently negotiating a new contract, but Turner has denied that this played a role.
Mayor Ted Wheeler, who is also the Police Commissioner, declined to comment on a statement. A spokesperson said the mayor will present his staffing plan for the police office on October 18, when he discusses the fall 2021 budget tracking process.