Portland police union calls for 840 more officers
The Portland Police Association said in the next five years, the Portland Police Bureau will need to hire 840 additional officers. That's more than the entire number of sworn members the bureau currently has on staff.
The association, which serves as the union for most bureau employees, released what it calls its "5-Year Vision for the Portland Police Bureau" on Thursday, Oct. 7. The association said it came up with the plan after hearing from community members and elected officials who are frustrated with the lack of a clean plan for public safety in the city.
The association plan emphasizes how in the last 20 years, Portland's population has increased by more than 100,000 people, but the bureau has significantly fewer officers.
On Tuesday, Oct. 5, the bureau told KOIN 6 News it currently had 790 sworn members on staff. They said 535 of those members are officers.
The bureau is authorized for 919 sworn positions and currently has 129 vacancies.
The association fears budgeting in the future will cut the number of sworn positions even further and argues that with the city's growing population, The bureau needs additional staffing to adequately meet public safety needs.
In 2020, the average ratio of police officers per 1,000 people was 2.4, according to the FBI's Uniform Crime Report. The association said the bureau should have 1,634 officers to reach the rate of 2.5 officers per 1,000 people.
In order to reach its goal of hiring 840 additional officers in the next five years, the association recommends the bureau add 50 retire-rehire police officer positions in each of the next 2 fiscal years. The retire-rehire program, if enacted, would allow the bureau to bring back retired officers and employ them again.
The police association also recommends adding additional testing opportunities, background investigators, and recruiters, adding bureau-hosted combined basic and advanced academies to train new hires "on the unique style of Portland policing," ensuring aggressive local and national recruiting, and solidifying retention with leading wages and benefits.
KOIN 6 News recently reported on why Portland Police Bureau officers said they were leaving their jobs at the bureau. In exit interviews, some said they felt unsupported by the mayor and city council and others were critical of leadership within the police bureau.
KOIN 6 News asked the bureau for an interview to discuss the association's five-year plan on Friday. The bureau said it did not have anyone available for an interview.
KOIN 6 News is a news partner of the Portland Tribune.
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