PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — There are some changes coming to the Portland Police Bureau. KOIN 6 News sat down with Police Chief Jami Resch to discuss the new moves made to focus more on responding to calls for help and saving overtime.
The Street Crimes Unit at two precincts are shutting down operations in two weeks. It’s a move to make due with fewer officers while there’s a staffing shortage.
The Chief said the bureau has to focus on its main job: responding to calls for help. Response times for emergency calls are an average of 8 minutes. Disbanding the Street Crimes teams at North and Central precincts adds seven officers and two sergeants to help with that response.
“What’s being lost? It’s the ability of those officers to focus on things like street-level drug dealing,” said Resch.
The Chief also told KOIN 6 News that changing the requirements about six months ago from requiring an Associates Degree to requiring a GED or high school diploma is now bringing in more applicants. The same education bar is set for State Trooper applicants.
Most applicants are disqualified during the background check.
Another big concern is a wave of retirements coming later this year—an election year when there will likely be protests. A state lawmaker has proposed a bill to double criminal penalties for protesters wearing masks while rioting. Resch said she hasn’t seen the specifics, but supports the idea.
“If you want to come down to Portland and your sole reason is to commit crime and you want to wear a mask to do that, I think there should be an increased penalty for that,” said Resch.
There are now just over 100 police officer job openings out of a total of about 1,000 positions.
Watch the full interview below:
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