Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler is seeking $2 million in additional police funding after a $16 million cut last year has led to a homicide spike in the Oregon city.
From Fox News:
But members of the city council were either mum or not fully committed so far on whether they’ll back the plan, according to reports.
The request by second-term Mayor Ted Wheeler came Friday during his State of the City address – and three days after Wheeler condemned one of the latest killings in the city, the broad-daylight slaying of a 42-year-old man in a city park on Tuesday.
“This shooting was brazen and horrific,” Wheeler wrote on Twitter. “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.”
Portland, which has been plagued by violent protests and riots almost continuously since last summer, was on of the cities at the center of a growing “Defund the Police” movement that started in Minneapolis, MN after the death of George Floyd.
Despite the widespread violence, city officials voted to slash $16 million from the police budget last summer. But now Oregon’s biggest city is seemingly paying a steep price for that decision:
But Portland in recent months has seen a surge in gun violence. Since 2021 began, the city has seen 20 homicides, mostly by gunfire. At the same time in March last year, the city had seen only one homicide, the AP reported.
Most of Wheeler’s $2 million request would go toward hiring five additional detectives and forming a uniformed patrol team with a focus on gun violence, KATU-TV of Portland reported.
In an attempt to get city officials on board with his proposal, Wheeler has attempted to assure them that the new police units would operate differently that the units that were disbanded last year:
“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.
Yet city officials have remained silent on whether they plan to support the proposal, even as some in the city have complained that there is “too much blood in the streets” and that residents were “fed up” with the violence that has engulfed the city.
Portland is one of a handful of cities that made cuts to their police budget during the “Defund the Police” movement, but the movement has continued to decrease in popularity as many cities across the country see an increase in violent crime.
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