After stripping funds from police last year, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler (D) urged city lawmakers this week to restore some funding for the Portland Police Department as law enforcement there battles violent crime.
During his State of the City address on Friday, Wheeler asked for $2 million in funding for police and other agencies to combat the raging gun violence that is plaguing the city.
“The move…represents an about-face after city leaders in June voted to cut nearly $16 million from the police budget, reductions that included the elimination of a gun violence reduction unit. The cuts came amid racial justice protests following the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis,” the Associated Press reported.
The lion’s share of the money would allow the Portland Police Department to hire more detectives and reestablish a patrol division focused on gun violence.
More from KATU-TV:
Some of the money, about $160,000, covers positions and programs within the Office of Violence Prevention for services that target victims of gun violence and others at high risk of gun violence. The biggest portion of the money, just under $1.5 million, would cover five additional detectives for deadly shootings and a uniformed patrol team for gun violence within the police bureau.
Ultimately, the city’s Gun Violence Reduction Team was eliminated last year “over concerns of who its officers stopped and why amid calls for police reform,” KATU reported.
Now, critics of that decision blame surging gun violence on the GRVT’s elimination.
Elmer Yarborough, whose nephew was murdered in Portland just one month after the GRVT was disbanded, told the AP that gun violence victims would be alive today had the unit not been eliminated.
“Without a doubt, I think it is a possibility that my nephew could still be alive if the GRVT was not dissolved,” Yarborough said. “I cannot say for sure if he would, but what I will tell you is had it not been my nephew that was saved, it probably could have saved the life of someone else.”
Portland in recent months has seen a surge in gun violence. Since 2021 began, the city has seen 20 homicides, mostly by gunfire. At the same time in March last year, the city had seen only one homicide, the AP reported.
This is an excerpt from TheBlaze.
Scroll down to leave a comment and share your thoughts.