PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Long a critic of the Portland Police Bureau and an advocate for transforming what she’s called a “dysfunctional” bureau, City Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty said she is open to hearing about the plan to bring back 100 officers under the “retire-rehire” program.
A central debate among the city leaders has been whether or not to increase police staffing and funding at a time when their numbers are historically low and crime in Portland is historically high.
Mayor Ted Wheeler told KOIN 6 News last week he wants to bring back 300 officers over the long term, with 100 in the near future.
Asked about that plan Thursday, Hardesty gave a different answer than what she’s said publicly before.
“I reached out to (PPB) Chief (Chuck) Lovell to find out what the plan looks like. I’m very interested in seeing a plan. I’m open. I think if we’re going to rehire former officers, we need to have some criteria,” Hardesty said. But she wants to make sure “we don’t bring back officers who retired in lieu of being investigated.”
Last month she told KOIN 6 News Portland needs a different type of police. Then and now she said the city needs to work on transforming “a dysfunctional bureau.”
“And that’s going to take a little while,” she said. “We didn’t create a dysfunctional bureau overnight, and it’s not going to be fixed overnight.”
She said she hasn’t yet gotten a response from Lovell but will have a work session and conversations with him.
“I’m open to talking to the mayor more, Chief Lovell more and Mike Myers,” who is the city’s Community Safety director.
As for the upcoming budget process, Hardesty said she hopes her “colleagues will continue to invest half those dollars in infrastructure.”