PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A group called “Care not Cops” has been railing against Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler’s proposal to expand the city’s business tax in order to pay for more police officers.
At a forum and rally Saturday, they invited city council candidates to hear their side.
The mayor’s office estimates the budget would generate more than $5 million for more police officers under the new proposal. The money would pay for more than 50 new patrol officers and others for training and behavior health units.
Those who agree with Care not Cops said they’d rather see all that money go back into neighborhoods in the form of mental health services.
“Put the money back into the community, especially those that are most impacted, and let us create the care that is needed for our community members,” Cindi Fisher with Rethinking Psychiatry said.
Maria Boyer with Critical Resistance PDX she said ongoing police violence is another issue that needs to be addressed. She said despite death and violence caused by police in Portland, the Portland Police Bureau is still attempting to steamroll through a request for more public funding.
Wheeler has acknowledged that Portlanders are deeply divided over police policy but said the city can make strides on public safety and accountability along with new police hires.