Wheeler supports small PPB shooting team; DAs offer gun plan

Crime

DA Mike Schmidt among 46 prosecutors signing a letter to President Biden

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — As gun violence continues to make headlines in Portland, Mayor Ted Wheeler said he supports moving more PPB resources to gun violence response. And Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt was one of 46 prosecutors nationwide that urged the Biden Administration to take action against rising gun violence.

At a regional gun violence response coordination meeting Friday morning, Wheeler said he supports “the deployment of a sergeant, 4 officers and two detectives to be ‘on call’ to respond 24/7 to shootings to assist in crime scene processing.”

He said he also “approved the request for the Public Safety Support Specialist for next-day collection of video and other evidence and one Crime Analyst.”

Wheeler is aware of the financial cost connected with this but said his colleagues on the Portland City Council “share my sense of urgency in our response, and I am committed to doing everything I can to provide the necessary resources for this work.”

The Portland City Council voted to dissolve PPB’s Gun Violence Reduction Team last July.

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.

In an interview with KOIN 6 News on Thursday, Wheeler said “the spike that we’re seeing in gun violence and homicides here in the City of Portland is definitely the city’s top public safety priority right now” and it’s being addressed on 2 different fronts.

“First, we’re working on the prevention and intervention side. To that end, we have increased the funding through the Office of Violence Prevention that helps us establish more community interactions and work with organizations throughout the community to help us reduce gun violence.”

Wheeler also said they’re working with law enforcement on the federal and state level.

Letter to President Biden

Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt was one of 46 prosecutors nationwide that urged the Biden Administration to take action against rising gun violence.

The January 25 letter from “Prosecutors Against Gun Violence” asks the Biden team to being “streamlining the response to the gun violence crisis” and “bolstering the background check system to more effectively prevent people prohibited from buying guns,” among other demands.

The DAs also suggested funding evidence-based prevention and intervention programs, ending so-called “ghost guns” made from 3D printers or assembled from online kits, and leading a national safe gun storage campaign.

The Prosecutors Against Gun Violence also released their first-ever report on how to protect, prevent and prosecute mass shootings.

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