Police officers and small businesses are struggling in Portland, Oregon, as they are still dealing with a surge of violence and crimes since protests and riots began last summer to ‘defund the police.’ Portland, along with Seattle and Minneapolis, held some of the most destructive riots last year and had one of the largest jump in homicides in 26 years. The city experienced 55 killings in 2020 with victims ranged from eight months to 71 years. Their radical left agenda to dismantle the police department entirely has left officers turning in their badges for lower-paying jobs instead.
According to recent reports, a total of 115 officers have left the department since last July. In 31 exit interviews, officials said that they felt their community showed law enforcement “zero support” and that the government was ignoring actual crime in favor of ‘radical leftist and anarchist fantasy.’ They said they felt constant hatred from their community, with one officer citing that he was hit by an explosive while protesters belittled him in the streets.
One training retired officer wrote that the city council, along with the government, has beat down the officers’ willingness to do police work. “I have never seen morale so low. Officers leaving mid-career and sometimes sooner to go to other agencies. Officers retiring when they would have stayed longer if the situation were different,” they wrote.
The department is still looking to fill 93 officer positions, as well as 43 civilian positions. Surveys of department vacancies have also found that many senior law enforcement officials left their posts in 2020 as well. After Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler cut the police department’s budget by millions, the city witnessed shootings spike by nearly 104%.
On Easter morning, dozens of people gathered outside of the Portland law enforcement union building to light a fire and tag vandalism across its walls such as ‘Nazis work.’ Rioters even tried to block traffic so that vehicles could not reach the building and extinguish the flames. This is similar to September 24, 2020, when rioters set fire to the Portland Association office. They set fire to plywood slabs that were used up to board the building’s entrance points, engaged in disorderly conduct around the area, resisted arrest, and were interfering with peace officers. So much for a ‘lawful assembly’ and ‘peaceful protest.’
The Portland police Lg. Greg Pashley said the spike in shooting incidents has made it nearly impossible to investigate all. “These homicide detectives are essentially buried under cases. It was very rare for us to have two in a week, much less two in a night in Portland, as part of the circumstances we’re living in right now, unfortunately,” he said.
Last summer, Mayor Wheeler also cut a gun violence police unit in the department and redistributed $7 million towards communities of color. They also voted to cut nearly $16 million from the police department. He announced in January that he would be seeking $2 million in one-time funding for police departments and other outreach programs to try and “stem rampant gun violence in the city.” Who would’ve thought that eliminating the gun violence reduction unit would also eliminate crime? Only a Democrat. Portland commissioners then presented their own $4.9 million plan to address gun violence and set up a “patrol unit focused on gun violence.”
Democrats are trying to backtrack out of the mess they’ve gotten themselves into, but reducing the police department never reduces crime. Authorities are scrambling to pull their resources, but that’s what happens when you take the voice of the mob.