PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler said last week he’d move quickly to seek $2 million to bring back a uniformed police patrol team to address a significant gun violence increase. But this week he acknowledged he needs more time.
Wheeler told plan supporters that he must provide additional information to other commissioners to gain support, The Oregonian/OregonLive reported.
“It’s not going to happen as quickly as this group has envisioned it might,” Wheeler said Wednesday, speaking to public safety representatives from the city, county and federal government and community representatives.
“This is politically controversial,” he said. “My colleagues will need to know the community is standing with them as they make these decisions. … As mayor, I am not an island. I am one vote out of five. I need at least three votes.”
The mayor told the group that he believes he eventually will get the votes.
The proposal calls for $2 million in one-time funding to permit more proactive policing on city streets with greater civilian oversight and data collected and publicly shared on police stops and arrests.
The plan would bring back a uniformed team of two sergeants and 12 officers to try to intercept and seize guns and work to prevent shootings and retaliatory violence in the city. The team also would respond to shootings, investigate them and engage with people who are at risk of gun violence.
During the same meeting, Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty criticized the Inter-Faith Peace & Action Collaborative for unveiling the plan with the mayor before telling her and other city commissioners about it.