PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The City of Portland’s Community Safety Division was formed in the spring after the City Council passed an ordinance on gun violence.
The division’s spokesperson, Rich Chatman, said it’s designed to help curb gun violence using a 3-pronged approach, including long term investments in sustainable solutions.
“We’ll be able to have kind of a multifaceted approach to a problem that everybody in our city recognizes needs to be dealt with quickly,” Chatman told KOIN 6 News. “We want solutions that prevent the shooting from ever happening and prevent that police intervention from happening.”
The solutions also include intervention work, some of which is being done now by community-based organizations hired by the city.
“These are folks that have a connection to the communities that are affected by gun violence and are able to provide, in some cases, life coaching and some different intervention methods,” he said.
The police will play a role in the strategy, Chatman said, which means having a police team solely focused on gun violence.
PPB has tried to create the Focused Intervention Team (FIT), a team of uniformed officers that would proactively address gun violence. The problem is very few officers want to join.
“The fact is it takes time to get all the pieces in place,” Chatman said.
Since April, when the Portland City Council voted to issue $6 million for gun violence prevention, shootings have increased dramatically.
“It’s important for, I think, residents of Portland to realize that the problems that they’re seeing in the city are not being unrecognized by the people who work there,” he said. “Many of us feel very passionate about the city and about it being a safe place.”