PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) – Portland Police Chief Chuck Lovell said the bureau is down about 145 officers from where they were at this time last year. This all comes as the bureau struggles to recruit and retain officers.

The bureau is authorized to have 916 sworn officers, but Chief Lovell believes they need 1,100 to minimally staff patrol, investigations, traffic and gun violence teams. But rebuilding the bureau, according to PPB, will likely take years.

Hiring a new officer in Portland takes about six months and then an officer isn’t considered fully trained for 18 months from hire.

To top these staffing shortages off, according to a survey from the Portland Police Association, there is increasingly low morale among officers. The survey found they don’t feel valued as city employees.

Mayor Ted Wheeler said he takes this all very seriously.

“I want to make sure that the bureau not only has the staff, the resources and the tools and the training that the bureau needs to be successful and none of that should stand in opposition to our other goals around improving the police bureau, around improving transparency and accountability,” Wheeler said.

Wheeler said that Lovell has started a plan to improve recruitment and retention. One of the possibilities the chief is looking at includes a retire-rehire program.

The mayor said he also wants to bring a proposal to city council to improve the staffing and employment situation in the bureau. He did not provide specifics on what that proposal would include.

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