PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Portland, Oregon, Police Chief Chuck Lovell said Thursday that officers have been moved from traffic, K-9, narcotics and other units into street patrol as authorities try to combat a spike in shootings and violent crime.
There have been more than 100 shootings in the past year.
KOIN reports that hampering police efforts to stem the violence is that since last summer, 110 officers have left PPB. Most of them retired and have not been replaced. The department has about 900 officers.
Lowell said 32 officers were moved out of specialty units to reduce overtime.
At a news conference, Lovell said he regrets the Portland City Council getting rid of the Gun Violence Reduction Team axed in mid-2020 under criticism it targeted Black men. Lovell said he believes it helped prevent shootings.
“GVRT, as it was, would be helping us keep these numbers lower. We had a focus and a structure,” the chief said. “I think that is probably the most important thing to look at and think of. We had a structure that took us a couple of years to build.”