Portland Commissioner Wants More Defunding of Police After Over 100 Days of Violent Riots

 In opinion, Politics

Portland Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty proposed more defunding of the Portland Police Bureau even after over 100 days of violent riots in the city. She has proposed slashing $18 million more from the police budget. Her memo to the council is heavy on numbers, but light on knowledge. The first defunding action was supposed to be “one time only.” (Oregon Public Broadcasting)

portland commissioner

Portland Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty – photo via Portland City Govenment

Lack of understanding

Portland Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty wrote a memo to the council outlining her vision for defunding the police that reads in part:

1. Reduce and limit the size and scope of the police
2. Reinvest dollars in ways that will directly support our most vulnerable community members
3. Create alternatives to police
4. De‐criminalize non‐violent offenses
5. Demilitarize officers
As the Fall BMP approaches, I intend to submit an amendment package that is in alignment with my vision. This package will address reducing and limiting the size and scope of the police and demilitarizing officers so that they may focus on violent crime and solving crime. Reinvestments from these two packages will focus on three things: directly supporting our most vulnerable community members, creating alternatives to police, and setting aside funds in contingency to help mitigate any potential cuts in FY 2021‐22.

Hardesty apparently doesn’t think the  rioters in Portland were violent, nor does she have any concept of what it takes to solve crime. ‘Alternatives to police’ is not feasible, and the ordinary citizens of the city of Portland will suffer tremedously with a total lack of safety. Portland has been the target of Antifa and Black Lives Matter riots for months.

“Decriminalizing nonviolent offenses” is a good way to create more violence. When criminals think they can get away with anything and there are no consequences, chaos reigns and businesses suffer extreme losses.

The Portland Commissioner went on to state:

1. Convert the portion of the Police Bureau’s one‐time cut related to the Mayor’s directed 5.6% reduction to ongoing. This totals a reduction of $4,665,885.
2. Eliminate 42 positions that were recently vacated by sworn members who retired in August. This totals a reduction of $7,169,753 and 42.0 FTE. Note that there were 48 retirements in August, but we are unable to eliminate Sergeant positions due to staffing requirements for this job class outlined in the Settlement Agreement.
3. End an IGA between the Police Bureau and the County District Attorney’s Office, where the Police Bureau is paying for 3 investigators in that office to issue subpoenas. This totals a reduction of $425,000.
4. Direct the elimination of secondary employment and further reduce overtime. This totals a reduction of $2,500,000.
5. Reduce external and internal materials and services to correspond with a reduction in FTE and reduce funding for military like supplies and munitions. This reduction totals $2,500,000.

So she plans to remove the budget for bullets and “military like supplies.” They already can’t use such items as tear gas and had to be deputized by the Federal government in order to use any riot control items. Her lack of understanding on “violence” is amazing.

She ended her memo with this:

1. Eliminate Special Emergency Response Team funding. This totals a reduction of $633,989.
2. Eliminate Rapid Response Team funding. This totals a reduction of $,633,989.
In total, this package will reduce the Police Bureau’s budget by $18,022,101 and 42.0 sworn FTE.

The PPB has already lost three specialty units, thanks to the defunding that took place earlier in the year. Hardesty’s plan would cut the SWAT team and Emergency Response teams to the bone – eliminating the very teams that responsible for crowd control. She said that they could be kept, but would have to “get their funding elsewhere.” She believes that this defunding meets the needs of Portland “at the moment.” It’s extremely shortsighted.

The PPB is now so understaffed that the number of hours of overtime paid has skyrocketed, with some officers making over $200k. It’s not a popular situation, with officers injured, and lack of council backing.  Without support staff, which would also have to be cut, crimes aren’t “solved” and federal grants go out the window. The Portland Commissioner is wrong in her approach.

Featured photo screenshot via @MrAndyNgo of Portland Police protecting government buildings

*****

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