PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Portland police have been in national headlines in the past two years as the city grapples with destructive, violent riots, a record number of homicides and skyrocketing gun violence.

Despite the troubles the city has experienced since the start of the pandemic, PPB Chief Chuck Lovell says he’s optimistic about the future.

“I’m hopeful, a lot of people are ready to come out of the last two years,” he said. “I look at the future of Portland and think we’re on a good path now.”

Despite recent hires, getting PPB staffing where it needs to be could take time, according to Lovell. The bureau still needs to hire around 100 more people.

“We’re doing what we can with the resources we have, we’re really hopeful that the Focused Intervention Team can be impactful,” he said. “I want people to know the police bureau is working hard.”

Lovell said taking over as the chief in June 2020 was incredibly challenging, as he recalled seeing all the anti-police graffiti before being sworn in.

“You worry about your family, but for me, I wouldn’t be sitting here if I didn’t love this city and this organization,” he said.

While he’s hopeful the 20 new hires will help the bureau get a handle on gun violence, even though it will take them a while to be trained. According to data obtained by KOIN 6 News, gun violence and murders are showing no sign of slowing down this year.

Chief Lovell also stressed that police can’t combat crime alone, but says they’re doing everything they can.

“In time, we’ll be able to find some solutions, but it will take a lot of people. It’s not something the police are going to solve by ourselves,” he said.