Portland is in big trouble. Gun violence is up 2 1/2 times over the same period last year and ever since the city council voted a 7% cut in the police budget, the city streets have exploded in violence.
The police unit dedicated to fighting gun violence — the Gun Violence Reduction Team — was disbanded because too many black people were being arrested, which means it was racist…or something. Regardless, getting rid of a unit that did nothing all day but combat gun violence had immediate consequences.
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.”
Simple or not, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler and the radicals on the city council who pushed to disband the unit were quite proud of themselves for eliminating “systemic racism.”
Not surprisingly, the criminals didn’t care. All they knew was that they had a much easier time committing a violent crime.
But Wheeler has apparently experienced something of a “Road to Damascus” moment and now wants $2 million to reestablish the Gun Violence Reduction Team.
Wheeler addressed the overarching question:How the new police approach would differ from the former police Gun Violence Reduction Team, disbanded in June by the City Council amid $15 million in budget cuts.
The key difference, he said, would be a new community oversight committee that would collect and publish statistics on the team’s arrests, stops and outcomes and help establish parameters for the police enforcement. The city would hire a data analyst to work directly with the committee outside of the Police Bureau. Committee members would have no ties to city government or the Police Bureau.
In other words, the police will be walking on eggshells to avoid even the appearance of bias. The new oversight committee will determine bias by “arrests, stops and outcomes” and not any overt evidence of wrongdoing.
Needless to say, there aren’t going to be any hotshot cops on this unit looking to sweep the streets of criminals. It’s more important to appear to be unbiased than to keep citizens safe. The former Gun Violence Reduction Team — renamed the “Enhanced Community Safety Team” — was accused of racism because 60 percent of suspects stopped were black in a city only 6% black. Shootings may have spiked after the unit was disbanded but at least Portland residents felt good about themselves for being so woke.
What’s truly ironic is that even now, the activists who pushed this “defund police” movement have yet to realize it was their actions that were at fault.
“We passionately support actions to address serious issues about racial justice and local policing,” the group wrote. “We want to push forward police reform while helping stop gun violence.”
Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty, who has been the most vocal critic on the council of the former Gun Violence Reduction Team and successfully pushed for its elimination, and her spokesman Matt McNally didn’t immediately return messages seeking comment on the new proposal. Last month, Hardesty said she was against providing any additional money to the bureau until the community decides how public safety should be reimagined in the city.
The radicals are incapable of seeing the damage they caused. Do they really think they can “reimagine” policing while putting a lid on gun violence? Perhaps it’s time they start reimagining criminals and let the police do their jobs.