PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Portland is on pace to match 2021’s record rate of homicides, a disturbing trend that doesn’t seem to be going anywhere with just over six weeks left in the year.
As Portland Police Chief Chuck Lovell accepted an FBI NEIA Law Enforcement Ethics Award on Friday, FBI Special Agent in Charge Kieran Ramsey and Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler recognized what a tough couple of years it’s been for law enforcement in the city.
“From a significant period of civil unrest and violent rioting to budget challenges to record-breaking shooting rates, the chief and his officers have had to face it all,” Ramsey said.
Mayor Wheeler added that law enforcement work can be grinding.
“We’re not machines, we’re people and we have lives and responsibilities beyond the work we do,” Wheeler, who is also the city’s police commissioner, stated.
According to the NEIA’s website, the award “provides an opportunity to tell a positive side of law enforcement by recognizing officers who serve as role models in our communities by choosing right over wrong, ethics over convenience, and truth over popularity. All major law enforcement agencies have officers who maintain high ethical standards and this is a time to share their stories.”
Chief Lovell says it’s humbling to receive the award.
“The past two and a half years have really been about focusing on gun violence, and shootings, protests, riots,” he said. “To have someone recognize you and say you’re doing the job in a way that we honor, means the world to me.”
The city is still grappling with record-breaking violence. In 2021, Portland had the most homicides in its history, with a whopping 90 recorded. It appears that 2022 is roughly on the same pace.
However, Chief Chuck Lovell tells KOIN 6 News he thinks the city is at a turning point with the hope of hiring more police soon.
Meanwhile, SAC Ramsey says catching repeat shooters is helping them get a handle on the homicides, along with the FBI’s partnership with PPB, as well as working with the community.
“That’s a priority of ours,” Ramsey explained. “We want to find who the worst of the worst is…make sure we find those people.”
Ramsey also said they’re hoping to offer new rewards for information soon.