MultCo: ‘Strategic investments’ for gun violence reduction

Multnomah County

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Multnomah County announced a slew of new violence reduction efforts and investments on Thursday.

Chair Deborah Kafoury, District Attorney Mike Schmidt and Sheriff Mike Reese all spoke during a press conference about finding solutions to gun violence. Some of the initiatives include adding prosecutors to speed cases, increased collaborations with the Sheriff’s Office and directing more than $2.8 million to upstream public and behavioral health programs to address the root causes of violence. 

District Attorney Mike Schmidt. (KOIN)

The announcement comes as the city reckons with one of its deadliest years in decades. Portland is on track for a record number of homicides this year with gunfire breaking out nearly every day and night.

“Locking people up and throwing away the key is a failed experiment. We will not prosecute our way out of this violence alone,” Schmidt said.

On Tuesday alone, the Portland Police Bureau responded to seven shootings within 15 hours, which left at least 3 people injured. The gunfire was scattered across Northeast and Southeast Portland, spanning from 2 a.m. to 6:50 p.m.

No arrests have been made but investigations are ongoing. According to PPB, Tuesday’s shootings “required significant numbers of officers, sergeants, detectives, and criminalists to investigate, and drained resources for patrol.”

Many community members and leaders have expressed their concerns that the Portland City Council has been silent on the issue of gun violence and not doing enough to curb it.

In response to the ongoing violence, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler recently said he has had two work sessions with Community Safety Work Plan leaders. They are currently are working on a Community Safety Transition Plan, which has three priorities: refocus, reform and restaff.

Wheeler said he is busy hiring additional staff for the bureau, saying that the Focused Intervention Team will be fully staffed by November. One new program is a ‘Retire, Rehire’ program, which would allow around 80 officers set to retire to instead continue working.

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