21st Century Policing
Portland’s City Council has already defunded the Portland Police Bureau (PPB) by $15 million, resulting in the elimination of 84 police positions and vital community safety policing teams. Portland City Council is looking to defund PPB even more this Fall.
In July 2020, we saw 15 homicides and 99 shootings in the City of Portland, up nearly 500% and 300% respectively compared to July 2019. This deadly trend continued into August 2020, with 116 shootings in the City, up 280% compared to August 2019. Six of the seven homicides in August were the result of gun violence. Through August 2020, we have seen a 180% increase in shootings from 2019, with 483 shootings so far this year.
This spike in gun violence occurred right after City Council defunded PPB’s Gun Violence Reduction Team. Gun violence has disproportionately impacted communities of color, with nearly 66% of the July 2020 shooting victims from the Black community.
We support peaceful protests and the right to speak freely. We denounce the killing of George Floyd. We also denounce violence during free speech events that has resulted in physical assaults and even murder. We denounce looting, burning, and destroying local businesses, neighborhoods, and public safety facilities. Crime has cost our City millions and has hurt livability.
Advancing law enforcement requires investment. Improved equity, de-escalation, and alternative force training; recruiting and retaining diverse officers; a fair and equitable accountability system for police discipline; and a return to neighborhood community policing — all take money. We need to fund the critical goals of reasonable and constructive police reform.
Recent Gallup polling shows that the public does NOT support abolishing police (only 15% of Americans support abolishing police ). The majority of the public does NOT support defunding police (only 28% of Americans strongly support reducing police department budgets).
Our City is at a crossroads. We need to invest in police reform. We need to invest in keeping our City safe.