Portland officers federally deputized in fight against gun violence

Crime

Metro Safe Streets Task Force aims to quell the increased gun violence throughout Multnomah County and surrounding areas

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Federal and local law enforcement agencies have teamed up with the intent to stop the increase in violence across Multnomah County and surrounding areas.

Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt and Acting U.S. Attorney Scott Erik Asphaug announced the creation of the Metro Safe Streets Task Force — a program “to coordinate and focus local and federal law enforcement resources on investigating and prosecuting gun crimes in Multnomah County,” according to a release from the DA.

“The Portland Police Bureau, Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office and Gresham Police Department have entered into a voluntary agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice—to include the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF)—to deputize a small contingent of local law enforcement officers to focus exclusively on investigating gun violence and crimes involving firearms,” according to the DA.

All five agencies’ involvement in the new task force does not seek to preempt or replace any existing or proposed prevention-based gun violence reduction efforts, according to the DA.

“This new initiative is focused on investigating shootings after they occur and, where appropriate and supported by evidence, charging those responsible in state or federal court,” officials said in a release Tuesday.

Officials said local law enforcement deputized under this new agreement will play no role in enforcing immigration law nor perform any crowd management duties at First Amendment demonstrations or event. All local law enforcement agencies party to this agreement are allowed to opt-out of participating at any time.

From January 1, 2021 through April 6, 2021, there have been at least 284 non-suicide shootings in the City of Portland, according to the Portland Police Bureau. Approximately 32% of the shootings in Portland have resulted in an injury.

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