PPB: Focused Intervention Team to be deployed in a week
The Portland Police Bureau's new Focused Intervention Team will hit the streets in a week. It is intended to prevent shootings, like the controversial Gun Violence Reduction Team the City Council disbanded a year and a half ago.
Right now, the Focused Intervention Team is busy training. KOIN 6 News got a firsthand look at one of their first classes at the bureau's Northeast Portland training center -- learning how to treat someone who's just been shot.
"The number one thing this team will be doing is responding to shootings in progress," Sergeant Kenneth Duilio said.
Duilio, who is leading the team, explains they'll have a tough job.
"I absolutely think the FIT team will make a difference, but one of my concerns with the community, media (and) our elected officials is, we kinda have to make sure expectations are not beyond capabilities. Like, we just went through 18 months of the worst gun violence the city has ever seen. We've never had this many homicides," Duilio said.
And not even two weeks into the new year, police say there have been five homicides, all from guns.
KOIN 6 asked Duilio how the members are feeling now.
"Initially, no one put in. No one wanted to do this job. Like, 'are we supported? It's super dangerous physically? It's dangerous politically? It's dangerous career-wise? Are we gonna have the support and backing?'" Duilio said.
But, he added, the members are starting to feel the support of elected officials, including Mayor Ted Wheeler.
On Eye on NW Politics, Ken Boddie asked the mayor how this team will be different than the GVRT, which was disbanded after repeatedly being accused of racial profiling.
"So what's different about the Focused Intervention Team is we have a community oversight group that's been impaneled now for the last six months. They work alongside the leadership of the Portland Police Bureau around hiring, around retention, around policy," Wheeler said.
As for the recruits themselves, Duilio said the diverse group has one common goal.
"These are incredible, passionate, caring people and really came down to they can't stand standing by and not being involved in the bureau's effort to reduce gun violence."
KOIN 6 News is a news partner of the Portland Tribune.
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