Chief Lovell: Portland on pace for another record year of shootings
PORTLAND, Ore. (KPTV) - Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler held a press conference on gun violence Thursday while flanked by top members of local law enforcement. A big focus of the press conference was on the struggle to balance the explosion in gun violence with the proper resources to investigate and prosecute.
For more than a year now, the community has heard about how Portland police doesn’t have enough officers on the street. On Thursday, the chief deputy district attorney for Multnomah County also painted a bleak picture, saying prosecutors are overwhelmed and dealing with crushing workloads, and they’ve lost a dozen or more prosecutors from the office in just the last year.
There was also a plea from the police bureau for members of the community to come forward if they have information or evidence on an unsolved murder case.
Gun violence is still an overwhelming concern. Police Chief Chuck Lovell said there have been 20 people killed in the city so far this year, and 19 of them were from shootings.
Lovell said Portland averages about 20 shootings a week, and although it’s only March, the city is on pace to again set another gun violence record.
The police chief said investigators, too, are struggling with the workload, but he’s hopeful that the bureau will finally start to see some progress to hire new officers and bring back retired officers over the next several months.
Mayor Wheeler said recruits to the bureau need to know is that the city and the mayor’s office have their back.
“What I hope happens is that through the actions that we have taken in the Portland Police Bureau over the course of the last year that demonstrate that we are serious about the Portland Police Bureau not being dragged along toward change and accountability, but leading the way and showing police agencies across America what an innovative, evolving police bureau can be,” Wheeler said Thursday.
Wheeler, Lovell and community organizers also spoke about the work being done to prevent gun violence, including youth outreach and outreach for victims of gun violence.
Copyright 2022 KPTV-KPDX. All rights reserved.