Gresham resident: City faces police staffing ‘crisis’

Multnomah County

GRESHAM, Ore. (KOIN) — The city of Gresham held a public safety meeting Monday to address concerns and take steps to mend its relationship with the community, in the wake of a 2021 investigation into the police department.

In February, KOIN 6 News reported on a report commissioned by the city that found then-chief Robin Sells fostered a hostile work environment.

Now, a national consulting firm is conducting an independent review of the department and Gresham residents shared their views at Monday’s meeting.

Officials told KOIN 6 News they will likely have more in-person public forums next month but if anyone wants to submit thoughts regarding policing there’s an option to do that on the city’s website.
Part of the process is gathering feedback from Gresham residents. On Monday, community members were invited to a forum held at the Center for the Arts building in downtown Gresham where dozens of people shared their thoughts, concerns, ideas about policing and community safety.

Some community members KOIN 6 News spoke with talked about an increase in violence coupled with the police department’s staffing shortage – saying it’s a major concern.
“I think most of the people here are expressing the same deep concern – that the city of Gresham has a crisis in the police department in the lack of police officers,” Gresham resident Craig Spinks said.

Gresham resident Craig Spinks took part in a community meeting on public safety, December 13, 2021 (KOIN)

KOIN 6 News reported in November that Gresham lost about 10% of its sworn officers due to retirements or officers leaving the profession. 

“While we’re focusing on crime violence reduction we’re also focusing on staffing shortages and how we might address those in terms of recruiting, hiring, retention programs – part of the whole process of this assessment BerryDunn will definitely provide feedback around that and how we better those experiences for our employees,” Gresham police chief Travis Gullberg said.

Berrydunn is the name of the consulting firm Gullberg said the department has been working with them for three months now. He said the firm is already offering feedback but said the full review process will be several months.

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