The latest casualty of the ‘defund the police’ movement: Portland Police Department’s traffic division

PORTLAND, OR – It seems as though the Portland Police Bureau’s Traffic Division has been reassigned to patrol duties as of February 4th of 2021.

While this move, according to police officials, does not mean that it’s going to be the complete obliteration of the Traffic Division’s endeavors – officials have revealed that this reassignment is going to drastically change traffic related enforcement.

This reassignment effort to the PPB’s Patrol Division is hardly surprising, considering back in November of 2020 we at Law Enforcement Today brought a report detailing how the police bureau was getting hit with some hard questions regarding police response times.

And of course, police response times are directly connected to officers working on patrol.

Furthermore, while this reassignment from the Traffic Division was enacted on February 4th of 2021, the Portland Police chief had already essentially detailed the preliminary schematics of these sorts of reassignments back in December of 2020.

Portland Police Chief Chuck Lovell issued a memo on December 9th of 2020 explaining what was coined as the “Staffing Reorganization Plan”, which almost is identical to the plan that was brought into place on February 4th of 2021.

In Chief Lovell’s issued memo, the following was noted about the rationale of reassigning officers to patrol:

“As I previously discussed, the driving force behind these moves right now remain are tight budget constraints. We must make up a budget deficit of more than $1.5 million deficit for this year and respond to the mayor’s budget guidance of possibly taking a 5 percent cut the next fiscal year.”

“Our goal is to not lay people off and the only way we have to address it is by minimizing overtime. Currently, we have to backfill and use overtime to staff the precincts roughly 40% of the time. This is not sustainable and we are told by analysts that we need around 400 officers to completely stop backfilling.”

When news of this first started circulating back in December of 2020, there were of course concerns about what this means for the Traffic Division and overall safety for motorists on the road with there being a distinct absence of dedicated traffic enforcement.

Back in December, Public Information Officer Derek Carman offered a little bit of insight as to what this shifting in allocated duties would look like:

“[Officers assigned on patrol] can still work traffic enforcement as time allows but they won’t be focused on it anymore.”

Similar sentiments were once again reiterated by Public Information Officer Sergeant Kevin Allen in February of 2021, but the PPB have been able to afford some more details on what to expect since the reassignment plan has now been put into action:

“It’s true that all of the officers currently assigned to the Traffic Division for road safety enforcement are being reassigned to Precinct Patrol. However, it is not true that the Traffic Division will cease to exist, completely.”

“Portland Police will still have a Traffic Investigation Unit, including our full-time crash reconstructionists, and sergeants to coordinate the Major Crash Team, federal grants, special events, and other duties.”

“Community members will still see motorcycle officers out on specific missions, funded by grants, and in some cases they may be doing traffic safety enforcement in between other duties. But, the Traffic Division will be very different, as they will no longer be assigned to that mission full time.”

Essentially, those in Portland can expect to see a decrease in Portland Police being specifically assigned to endeavors related to traffic enforcement – such as officers staked out monitoring for people potentially speeding, for example.

Rumors have also been circulating that the Neighborhood Response Team is also on the proverbial chopping block, but PIO Sergeant Allen was able to quell those rumors:

“There’s still an a NRT intact. Last I heard they were assisting with call response when needed, but they’re still assigned to NRT.”

For purposes of reassurance, Sergeant Allen noted that he’ll reach out to the East Precinct’s Command staff to monitor what, if any, changes are being considered for the Neighborhood Response Team.

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In other news related to Oregon, the numbers are in when it comes to the total damages lodged against federal buildings within Portland – and the cost to fix the damage is in the millions. 

Here’s that previous report. 

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PORTLAND, OR– Portland, Oregon was one of the hardest hit cities by riots, destruction, and violence since the in-custody death of George Floyd in May of 2020. 

While many thought that all of the chaos would calm down after President Joe Biden was sworn into office, it sadly has not, proving that those taking to the streets do not have any purpose other than wreaking havoc across the city. 

Clearly those who are choosing to destroy and loot on the regular have no regard for the amount of money it will cost to put all of the pieces back together once the dust settles. 

The U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon has estimated the cost of repairing the damage caused to federal buildings in Portland by the terrorist group Antifa to be roughly around $2.3 million.

The estimate comes on the heels of almost a year of destruction that has been mostly centered around the federal courthouse. While that estimated number seems astronomical, the worst part is, it does not include any damage to state, county, and/or city building, or damage to private property and businesses.

U.S. Attorney Billy J. Williams told The Oregonian that cost to repair riot damage to the Mark O. Hatfield U.S. Courthouse and four other federal government facilities will likely exceed $2 million, Fox News reported.

According to Breitbart, other damaged facilities include Portland’s U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) building, the Edith Green-Wendall Wyatt Federal Building, the Gus J. Solomon U.S. Courthouse, and the Pioneer Courthouse.

While many thought that Antifa was rioting against President Trump’s administration, they soon shifted their focus to President Joe Biden following his inauguration. It is reported that in at least one Antifa protest, they carried signs that read “We are ungovernable” and “We don’t want Biden- we want revenge.”

President Biden refused to denounce Antifa and the rioting on many occasions, hoping to appease the masses and gain votes. However, following the riots that took place on January 20th, the White House Press Secretary, Jen Psaki released a statement saying:

“Peaceful protests are a cornerstone of our democracy but smashing windows is not protesting and neither is looting. Actions like these are totally unacceptable.”

As Law Enforcement Today reported, on the evening of January 27th, rioters in Portland decided to once again target law enforcement officers outside of the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement building within the city.

According to a press release from the Portland Police Bureau, a large group had gathered at approximately 9:51 p.m. outside of the ICE facility located within the 4300 block of South Macadam Ave.

The group that had gathered created various road blocks in order to section off their location. At approximately 10:30 p.m. that evening, this group had managed to set a dumpster ablaze and pushed said dumpster in front of the ICE facility.

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Author: Gregory Hoyt

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