A Portland Police Bureau official said the force “can’t keep up” with the gun violence and crime plaguing the city.
Lt. Greg Pashley, a public information officer with the bureau, made the comment after a stabbing and two shootings early Wednesday morning resulted in three deaths, one of which was a suicide, according to police.
“We are at 69 homicides since July 1 of 2020, so these homicide detectives are essentially buried under their cases,” Pashley said, according to local ABC affiliate KATU.
“Quite frankly, they can’t keep up,” he continued. “What happens is when dozens of officers get tied up on a scene, like the one behind us, it does limit our ability to respond to other calls for service throughout the city.”
Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, who is also the city’s police commissioner, also acknowledged the city’s growing violent crime problem and asked the City Council for a one-time $2 million appropriation to improve the city’s policing.
But just last year, in response to anti-police riots, Wheeler and other city leaders voted to cut nearly $16 million from the police budget, including the elimination of a gun-violence reduction unit.
Since then, shootings and homicides have reached a 30-year high.
According to Portland Police Association President Daryl Turner, Wheeler realized defunding the police force “was a mistake.”
“Defunding the police is not a solution. It’s a political stunt,” Turner said last year.
“Portland police officers and all police officers respond to calls to service,” he said. “They respond to calls no matter what your race, creed, culture, religion, sexual orientation, or gender is.”
Wheeler also ordered Portland police to stop using tear gas to handle violent mobs, claiming the new policy would help “reduce the violence in our community.”
“We need something different,” Wheeler said last summer. “WE need it now.”