Lovell: PPB working on plan to quell violence

Multnomah County

Bureau moving around staffing

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Portland Police Chief Chuck Lovell said a plan is being worked on to combat violence in the city as the bureau grapples with a spike in shootings.

Lovell said there have been “conversations for the last several weeks of what we could do as a police bureau to address shootings.” He said the bureau has been talking with regional partners as well.

“Probably something soon in place, but it’s definitely an ongoing and regular discussion trying to figure out what the best way is, and what resources to bring to bear,” Lovell said. He said he is focused on making a plan that is efficient, effective and sustainable.

He said there was a need to “balance the urgency but be thoughtful about how we implement it.”

Since last summer, 110 officers have left PPB. Most of them retired and have not been replaced.

As of now, 32 officers were moved out of specialty units to reduce overtime. Officers have been moved to patrol from traffic, K9, narcotics and others in order “to give more resources back.”

There have been more than 100 shootings and over 30 non-fatal injuries for the year. There have also been 6 gun-related homicides for 2021.

Watch the full press briefing

Lovell said he regrets the Portland City Council getting rid of the Gun Violence Reduction Team axed in mid-2020 under criticism it targeted Black men. Lovell said he believes it helped prevent shootings.

“GVRT, as it was, would be helping us keep these numbers lower. We had a focus and a structure,” the chief said. “I think that is probably the most important thing to look at and think of. We had a structure that took us a couple of years to build.”

Those officers are now assigned to other duties. Mayor Ted Wheeler made it clear the GVRT is not coming back, but Lovell said talks are underway.

Lovell said the bureau is “doing great work around equity and inclusion” including new trainings. He said they are trying to focus on bringing those conversations to the police bureau.

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