News & Politics

Portland Can Relax. The 'Enhanced Community Safety Team' Is on the Job

AP Photo/Paula Bronstein

Portland, Ore., politicians decided to drastically cut the budget for the police department at the end of last year, hoping to make their city streets safer — at least for Antifa and Black Lives Matter.

For the rest of the citizens? Not so much. Shootings have skyrocketed — nearly 2 1/2 times higher than the year before. Authorities blame the pandemic. And unemployment. And “systemic racism.” And everything but the 7-percent reduction in the police budget.

The cuts with the biggest impact on gun violence included the disbanding of the highly effective Gun Violence Reduction Team. The unit was charged with getting guns and violent criminals off the streets.

Former Salinas, Calif., Police Chief Kelly McMillin told the Portland police, “Not to be overly dramatic, but if you lose the unit which focuses on removing firearms from the hand of violent offenders, people will die. It’s really just that simple.”

But it’s far too complicated for the woke city council members who believed the Gun Violence Reduction Team was racist and had to go.

Associated Press:

The push was led by Jo Ann Hardesty, the first Black woman elected to the City Council. She cited a 2018 audit showing nearly 60% of people stopped by the gun violence team were Black — though they make up less than 6% of the city’s population.

Nearly half of the 55 total homicide victims in 2020 were people of color, many of them from Portland’s historically Black neighborhoods, according to city statistics.

So far this year, there have been 17 homicides — a concerning number considering there had only been one homicide in the same period in 2020.

But Portlanders shouldn’t fret. Despite the scary statistics and their streets still being ruled by gangs of wannabe anarchists and revolutionaries, help is on the way! The “Enhanced Community Safety Team” is on the job. They may not stop any murders or shootings. But they’ll make people feel good about how woke their city is that it was able to get rid of antiquated, racist police units that didn’t do anything all day except save lives.

What’s that compared to community outreach? Or talking to the community to assure them that the police really, really, really care?

KOIN:

“Our goal is to let folks know we are out there, that we are hearing the calls for police service to reduce gun violence, and you know, some of the goals for tonight would be to have conversations with folks in the community, respond to shooting scenes and strategize and hear ideas on how the police can be receptive to the needs of the community when stopping gun violence,” said ECST Sgt. Steve Wilbon.

It’s interesting that “stopping gun violence” was almost an afterthought. Having the cops “receptive to the needs of the community” is so much more important.

While the main focus of the team is to reduce gun violence, Wilbon said there will be a triage process in case the team is needed to respond to any destructive protests scheduled to take place Saturday night.

Allen told KOIN 6 News that the goal is to get to the scene as quickly as possible.

“Anytime we get word of this kind of activity, we do make tactical plans and try to have folks working and on standby and we are doing that this weekend,” he said.

You can bet that the Enhanced Community Safety Team is being very careful about whom they arrest. This isn’t necessarily bad except they aren’t being careful because they care about the rights of individuals as much as they care about the appearance of arresting too many black people. In Councilwoman Hardesty’s universe, the only things that matter are numbers and outcomes. So the safety team has to tread carefully lest they get on the wrong side of that equation.

Is this any way to police a city?

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