City Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty has launched a public involvement process to help her prepare Portland Police Bureau reforms— including possible budge cuts — for the City Council to consider later this month.
Rethink Portland includes online events intended to generate reform proposals before the council adjusts the current budget during an Oct. 28 hearing during an annual process known as the fall budget monitoring process — or BMP, as it is commonly called.
"My job is to facilitate these conversations and take the best ideas and present them to my colleagues in the City Council," Hardesty told reporters during a Wednesday morning briefing on her initiative for reporters.
Although Hardesty said she was committed to presenting a reform proposal to the council during the budget monitoring process, she insisted she did not have any specific proposals in mind. Hardesty said the community already knew that armed police officers were not the right response for people experiencing economic inequities, mental health issues, homelessness and other social problems.
"People want compassionate policing that focuses in crimes and is same whether you live in Southwest Portland or on the streets," Hardesty said.
The council already approved a proposal to cut the bureau by $15 million in the current budget by eliminating four tactical units, including the Gun Violence Reduction Team, formerly known as the Gang Enforcement Team.
Since then, Mayor Ted Wheeler has said that does not support cutting the bureau budget by more than $5 million a year for the next two years. Wheeler oversees the police bureau and has said he did not intend to transfer it to Hardesty, who accused the police of setting fires during downtown protests and then retracted her accusation. Sarah Iannarone, who is running against Wheeler for mayor at the Nov. 3 general election, said she would assign the bureau to Hardesty if she wins.
The next virtual Rethink Portland events are: Youth Town Hall on Saturday, Oct. 10; What Makes Us Safe? Rethinking Community Safety on Monday, Oct. 12; Community Conversation: What role should police play in Portland on Oct. 17; and Building a More Resilient & Equitable Portland: Budget Amendments Preview on Thursday, Oct. 22.
More information about Rethink Portland can be found here.
More information about the fall BMP can be found here.
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