Portland is struggling to find cops to fill a newly revamped gun-violence squad that was scrapped in its fervent woke push to defund the police at the height of Black Lives Matter protests, a union leader has revealed.
“Over a year ago we were defunded over $20 million and many staffing positions — and many of those staffing positions was our gun-violence reduction team,” Portland Police Association President Daryl Turner told Fox News Tuesday.
The Oregon unit had been “a model in the nation” at “taking guns of the street, taking people who are committing those shootings off the streets,” he said.
“That doesn’t happen now,” Turner complained, as the outlet noted that homicides are up 327 percent and shootings up 116 percent in the city that saw much of the worst violence in prolonged BLM protests and riots.
The 53 homicides so far this year are on pace to surpass the city’s all-time high of 70 in 1987, according to the outlet.
“Now they want to put together a team after they’ve made the mistake of defunding and disbanding this unit,” he said.
But “our officers don’t have confidence in our elected officials who have never showed support for them,” he said.
As well as concerns that the unit will not last, the officers do not trust that left-wing politicians in a city that allowed the police to be defunded will let the squad “proactively police the way they should to be able to slow the gun violence and to stop the murders,” Turner said.
“We have shootings every night, almost,” he said, noting a recent “mass shooting” where an 18-year-old woman was killed.
“We’re just trying to hold down the fort the best we can. But our elected officials are not taking responsibility and accountability for what they’ve done,” he said, noting the squad was still not being “totally” refunded.
He warned that the knock-on effect of police defunding will likely be felt for “years to come.”
“We’re not going to put a lid on this unless they effectively allow the police bureau to do their job the way we’ve done our job in the past,” he said.
“If they want … to stop the gun violence, they have to allow us to do our job, and do our job effectively,” he said.