Portland Street Response team expanding city-wide

Published: Feb. 10, 2022 at 9:27 PM PST
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PORTLAND, Ore. (KPTV) - Beginning in March 2022, the Portland Street Response team will expand city-wide.

The members of the team are comprised of unarmed first responders, including medical and mental health professionals. For its first year, the team was limited to the Lents Park area in southeast Portland but now they will be able to provide services across the city.

Commissioner Joann Hardesty has been pushing for expansion.

“After a yearlong pilot, we are gearing up for expansion,” she said in a prepared statement. “This March, PSR will be going citywide and we’re currently interviewing people to fill those positions.”

Aaron Shmautz, president of the Portland Police Association, said he’s looking forward to speaking with the PSR team and working with them to figure out how they can work with officers.

“Very often when they respond, they’ll say we need the police to come and cover or we need the police to be involved,” Schmautz said.

As part of the police union’s tentative agreement with the city, a clause has been included that states PPB positions cannot be reduced as a result of the expansion of PSR.

“I think the either or approach, kind of this zero-sum discussion that we’ve seen occur over the last couple of years has been challenging because it implies if you bring one solution, the other does not need to be there,” Schmautz said.