This past summer the North Park Blocks experienced a dramatic rise in unlawful activity – traveling gangs, aggressive panhandlers, drugs, public sex, off-leash dog attacks. That situation was turned around when City Hall finally took notice and Portland Police stepped up their presence to enforce the law in the park.
We saw smart policing based on positive and supportive police interaction with citizens. But increased police presence in the North Park Blocks required pulling scarce police resources from other Portland neighborhoods. Bottom line – community-focussed policing is labor-intensive and Portland Police is understaffed to provide adequate safety city wide.
Statistics show that Portland Police is understaffed. The FBI national benchmark calls for 2.7 officers per 1000 residents and Portland has only 1.5. More stats here.
Public safety has made Portland one of America’s most livable cities. Our community needs our Police Bureau to take calls for service, investigate crimes, confront gang violence, and proactively engage with the public. Having enough police officers to manage these functions will keep Portland a great place to live.
Portland City Council must increase Police Bureau staffing levels to ensure there are enough police officers to meet the City’s public safety priorities.
The Portland Police Association has started a petition to Mayor Hales and Portland City Council. Send a message to City Council – Read more and sign the Petition.