PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) – Portland City Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty is pushing to disband the Portland Police Bureau’s Gun Violence Reduction Team.

This all comes in response to Mayor Ted Wheeler’s proposed budget.

Wheeler set aside half a million dollars for “Portland Street Response” which is one of Hardesty’s priorities.

But she says other community issues aren’t getting the funding they need and the police force is already stretched thin in Portland.

“I did not come in to just be a kumbaya or just be an additional vote for the mayor's budget,” Hardesty said.

The Gun Violence Reduction Team is formerly known as the Gang Enforcement Team (GET).

In October 2018, the team made the transition to focusing on all gun-related crime, not just ones that are gang-related in Portland.

Chief Danielle Outlaw recently supported the team, noting that shots fired calls are down 28 percent from October 2018 to March 2019.

But Hardesty stresses the team is just not effective and it should be disbanded to not waste taxpayer dollars.

“I think we do a disservice to the community when we pretend that we have this huge gang problem that we do not have,” Hardesty said.

Hardesty said she believes the team is racially profiling.

Through a city audit, Hardesty cites 59 percent of the people stopped by the Gun Violence Reduction Team are African-American in a city she said that’s only 6 percent African-American.

She wants to take those 28 officers within that team and put them back on street patrol.

“They're not good at it. They don't do a good job of actually recording who they stop and why - when the auditor asks them well how do you decide to pull over? 'Oh we just know it when we see it,’” Hardesty said.

But Royal Harris who grew up in Portland’s gang culture has a different opinion.

“I wouldn't say that the idea of disbanding the unit is a good idea and I would pin it as an ideological view of one person against another person, or us against them,” Harris said. “What I would say is it's a tool for law enforcement and with every there's the ability to improve its use.”

Harris said it’s important that the Gun Violence Reduction Team focus on data-driven policing, not stereotypes.

“I don't think gun violence is a color issue or a race issue,” Harris said. “I would hope that whatever position you have the center interest is public safety and that if we focus on that we can probably figure a way maybe not to get rid of them but to improve what they do based on mistakes in the past.”

Hardesty is also proposing to defund $1.6 million for a Portland Police body camera pilot program.

Next Wednesday, the commission will vote on the budget.

Commissioners will have the opportunity to put amendments into the proposed budget.

The final vote is June 12.

Copyright 2019 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved.

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(7) comments

NWR8rfan

Portland government is a dumpster fire. From the Mayor all the way down. The city gets more violent, more drugs, more crime, HUGE homeless problem, trash, gangs, unsafe schools, we are a sanctuary city for domestic terrorist groups like Antifa and the city council thinks it is great. This local government hates the police, the three sheriff departments that hold partial ground here refuses to help any longer (and rightfully so) because of the anti-police/anti-citizen stance. The FBI anti-terrorist task force has pulled out and Portland want to kick out ICE, in favor of a group of people breaking the law.
We should kick the lot of them to the curb and start over. "Keep Portland Weird" does NOT mean, violence, crime, over doses, crappy schools, and now......... unarming police officers because the bad guys don't like it? How about unarming the gangs, homeless and criminals?
Shame on this local government.

kyle H

Well, it isn't like Portland voters were unaware of her primary agenda, which is to challenge the ricial status quo, to call people and institutions out regarding all manner of bias issues, primarily black issues but, I'm sure she will throw in the token Hispanic or Oriental matter here and there.

Cheese22

Congratulations on the most unreadable headline in a long time.

Lawlessness Brings Destruction

Attention Portland City Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty: You and the rest of Portland city government (and Mult. Co.) are far too committed to politically correct ideals than to effective policing. And you are WAY more "kumbaya" than you know or are probably willing to admit.

You support the narrative that officers of the Gun Violence Reduction Team and GET are racially profiling. First of all dear, a crime is NOT a "race". Police intel that includes ethnicity is just part of good police work and common sense, especially when the empirical evidence and facts from the CDC and FBI support it. When crime in an ethnic group becomes a "race", officers hands are tied in the court of public opinion and even the alleged justice system depending on how kumbaya the DA's office is with the racist local grievance activists. And the myth of "racial profiling" IS inherently racist. That narrative thrives not only on racism, but also thrives on an ignorance of policing and a willful blindness to the demographics of crime.

The largest part of the factors officers use are intel that includes common identifying denominators such as vehicles, tine of day, location, even day of the week. To play the race card when arrests occur is racist in itself. Also, the anti-profiling crusaders have created a headlong movement without defining their central term and without providing a shred of credible evidence that "racial profiling" is a widespread police practice. The corrupted and predetermined "studies" done on this non-issue were commi$$ioned by those with an agenda and are fatally flawed.

Sorry for the lack of links. This comment area is formatted to reject links as "spam", which is a good way to stifle the fisking of bogus and factually absurd liberal and PC narratives of the factose intolerant. It's also formatted to not allow paragraphing. Nor can editing be done later. Very sloppy engineering. I made the attempt but we'll see if it tales hold.

You say that GET is "not good" at their job. "They don't do a good job of actually recording who they stop and why - when the auditor asks them well how do you decide to pull over? 'Oh we just know it when we see it,’ " The omission of the pertinent fact of the gang database being shut down in 2017 helps drive the "racial profiling" narrative here. I suspect this is engineered to leave officers with insufficient intel to prevent unnecessary stops and further drive the "racial profiling" narrative. In light of this, your assertion that "it’s important that the Gun Violence Reduction Team focus on data-driven policing, not stereotypes" is laughable. And if there's no database, there's "no gang problem". Right?
You do a HUGE disservice to the community when you pretend that we DON'T have a gang problem.

Your proposal to defund $1.6 million for a Portland Police body camera pilot program is a mistake. It will only serve to make the "racial profiling" narrative stronger. Officers won't be able to provide conclusive evidence of protect themselves against bogus claims brought against them by lying miscreants. This is how the whole Black Lives Matter movement got started. Lack of body cams also reduces the ability to keep officers accountable.

Let me break it down for you...1.) Leave GET alone. Get off their backs and let them do their job. 2.) Bring back their data base. This give them the ability to be more effective in analyzing intel and their job. 3.) Stop your efforts to defund the $1.6 million for a Portland Police body camera pilot program. 4.) If you can't commit yourself to do these things, get OUT of the way. Your actions are a liability to public safety, quality of life, and the rule of law.


racecar57

You did a very good job voicing the thoughts of many people in Oregon !!!!

sharder8

ROFLMAO!!! Democrat scare tactics in a Democrat controlled city! If I don't get more money, I'm going to cut the highest priority projects!

Terrell Higgs

Great job voting her in

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