The number of gang-related, violent incidents has surpassed last year’s numbers and is climbing to an all-time high; yet City Hall still has no answer for the Portland Police Bureau’s terminal staffing shortage.
This past Wednesday, East Precinct’s day shift ran with 2 officers short of minimums and one officer on overtime. This happens daily in Portland precincts. Officers work too many hours of overtime and supervisors constantly scramble to plug staffing holes.
Most calls for service come with unknown hazards and officers are mandated to wait for cover officers to arrive, often from miles away. This presents an unreasonable delay in response to citizen calls for help. The dynamics created by skeleton staffing frustrates officers, leaving them with their hands tied due to the fact that City Hall has still not given PPB the management resources it needs to properly staff all shifts at every precinct, every day.
Crimes of opportunity are on the rise and with the current diminished Detective Division, the ability to effectively investigate has been hampered.
Surprisingly, it seems that City Hall has turned a blind eye towards the safety of our communities as well as the safety of our officers tasked to protect our communities.
Resources for the mentally ill and those in mental health crisis are at risk while just a handful of specially-trained officers race from call to call, having less time to spend with those who need help. We simply need more officers in every department.
As we approach the beginning of another school year, how are our children safe when there are ten times as many schools as there are School Resource Officers? With fewer officers patrolling the streets that surround our schools, are our children safe from gang violence and traffic hazards?
City Hall is ignoring the PPB staffing dilemma. No one is speaking up to demand that our leaders address the lack of police staffing and the threat it poses to the citizens of Portland. If we continue down this path the risks are great and the consequences unforgivable.