New anti-gun Portland police unit hits the streets
The Portland Police Bureau's new Focused Intervention Team hit the streets for the first time on Wednesday, Jan. 19, replacing another unit that had been disbanded after city audits found it was neither accountable nor transparent.
The new FIT team, comprised of two sergeants and 12 officers, is now tasked with disrupting the cycle of violence that has been hitting Portland after 2021 became the city's deadliest year. KOIN 6 News ask Portland Police Chief Chuck Lovell if he felt he had the support from Portland City Hall to make this initiative successful.
His answer was succinct: "I do."
During a session previewing some of the work the team will do, KOIN 6 News watched as members trained on how to save someone suffering from a gunshot wound, as they are expected to often respond to shooting scenes.
Lovell said the biggest challenge facing the team will be doing their work safely "so everyone goes home at night."
Portland Police Officer Whitney Anderson explained to KOIN 6 News why she was joining the new team.
"I'm in a position to help … I want to help," she said. "I want to see this city a safer place."
One of the differences between FIT and the unit it is replacing, the now-disbanded Gun Violence Reduction Team, is that FIT has a community oversight group. The new unit will also work closely with the Enhanced Community Safety Team, which was created last year to investigate shootings.
KOIN 6 News is a news partner of the Portland Tribune.
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