After defunding the police by $15 million, Portland’s mayor wants money to rehire retired police officers

PORTLAND, OR – According to reports, with murders having hit their highest level in more than 20 years, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler is pushing for extra funding in an effort to rehire police officers who’ve recently retired to solve an ongoing staffing deficiency.

Homicides have reached a troubling high over the past year, and Mayor Wheeler is looking to get his hands on funding to tap into experienced officers who had retired to both address a staffing shortage within the police department and also tackle the concerning violent crime rates.

Portland Police Chief Chuck Lovell, as well as Mayor Wheeler, estimate that as many as 80 retired officers could be reintroduced to the Portland Police Bureau by the end of 2021.

The Portland mayor said that reintroducing the officers to the department will assist with violent crime levels “as well as prevent burnout amongst our current officers.”

Currently there is a deficiency of 122 sworn law enforcement officers for the Portland Police Bureau, as they’re operating with 794 sworn officers currently with a force authorized to operate with 916 officers.

So far this year, there have been 64 homicides in the city – with 46 of those homicides involving gunfire. In the previous 12 months, police reported 1,229 shootings, a considerable increase from the 656 shooting incidents reported the year before.

Mayor Wheeler lamented the surge in violent crime impacting Portland:

“The city is on a trend to have its deadliest year in decades. And while urban gun violence is impacting cities throughout the United States, we are not other cities. This is our home and we need to do better here.”

While Mayor Wheeler hopes to attain the funding for the rehiring of retirees effort, he also said that there needs to be a longer term strategy to address the staffing shortage within the bureau:

“I believe our police bureau is under-resourced. I want an evidenced-based approach to how many officers we need to hire and what gaps we have in the bureau that currently need to be filled.”

The hiring of retired officers for the Portland Police Bureau is not exactly uncharted territory, as the same effort was put into place in 2020.

However, the program was discontinued in August of last year due to its high cost – namely because the rehired officers were being paid at the same level as they were when they retired. That pay was also in concurrence with those officers’ receiving their city retirement benefits.

Mayor Wheeler also proposed an expansion of the Portland Street Response team, which assists individuals dealing with homelessness and behavioral health issues so as to alleviate Portland Police from having to respond to those calls.

Another aspect on the agenda for requested funding is the issuance of bodycams for police officers.

This fall, the City Council will discuss budget adjustment proposals, however, the mayor has not yet said how much money he’ll seek to increase the Portland Police Bureau’s budget.

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Estate of man murdered by Antifa militant in 2020 sues city of Portland, far-left mayor and District Attorney

(Originally published September 12th, 2021)

PORTLAND, OR – The estate of Aaron “Jay” Danielson, the 39-year-old man who was murdered in August of 2020 by Antifa militant Michael Reinoehl, is reportedly suing the city of Portland and local leadership – alleging a sort of negligence by city officials that led to the “preventable” death of Danielson.

As we have previously reported here at Law Enforcement Today, the now-deceased Reinoehl – who was later killed in a police shooting while being tracked down for Danielson’s murder – lied in wait on August 29th of 2020 before running up to Danielson and fatally shooting him after the victim had participated in a pro-Trump demonstration in Portland.  

On September 10th, 2021, the estate of Danielson filed a $13 million federal lawsuit against the city of Portland, Mayor Ted Wheeler and the county district attorney.

Estate attorney Christopher Cauble alleges that the city’s officials employed a “hands off” policing strategy in response to violent groups like Antifa results in a “culture of vigilante policing” between groups when confronting each other:

“We are seeking justice for the preventable death of a young man, gunned down in a city with a dangerous and deadly hands-off approach to public safety.”

Cauble continued, pointing out how city leadership is fully aware when trouble is brewing – as groups like Antifa have a tendency to announce their intent to disrupt conservative demonstrations online and often advocate the use of violence when proclaiming such:

“Time and time again. City leadership and law enforcement have failed to find an effective response to clashing groups of protesters. For well over a year, they have known when and where these rallies would occur and the likelihood of escalating violence.

Yet no strategy of protective intervention has been utilized to this day. This reckless dereliction of duty, cost our client, Aaron Danielson, his life.”

Named within the suit, outside of the city and Mayor Wheeler, is also Multnomah County District Attorney Michael Schmidt.  

The suit alleges that DA Schmidt’s August 2020 proclamation of his office avoiding prosecutions for “public order crimes” such as criminal mischief, disorderly conduct, and even rioting, and instead focus on more serious offenses like such as property damage or assaults undoubtedly contributed to the chaos that set the stage for Danielson to be murdered.

DA Schmidt’s office has yet to comment on the allegations outlined in the lawsuit.

Also noted in the federal lawsuit is how Portland Police were apparently instructed to avoid getting involved between disputes consisting of opposing groups – i.e., the conservative or pro-Trump crowds when faced against Antifa – despite city officials and police knowing full well what happens when such matters go unchecked.

The lawsuit filed claims that all of the aforementioned conveyed to protesters, on either side of the political aisles, could expect “a skeletal and passive police presence” during the weekend when Danielson was murdered.

And with how riots played out in Portland over the past year, it’s clearly evident just how lawless Antifa-led riots and activities play out and how violent they become when there’s even the smallest presence of conservative groups within the city.

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We at Law Enforcement Today recently shared a report regarding Portland and Mayor Ted Wheeler finally admitting that a hands-off approach to policing isn’t the smartest move, following the outrage that came after two opposing groups – the Proud Boys and Antifa – were able to duke it out in the streets this past August with impunity.

Here’s that previous report.

_

PORTLAND, OR – Earlier in September, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler switched his stance on the police response strategy (which was essentially non-existent) that was taken regarding a rolling brawl between Proud Boys and Antifa back in August.

While Mayor Wheeler originally thought police not immediately responding to dueling groups was the proper approach, following scrutiny from the public, he has since said that the approach was “not the right strategy”.

We at Law Enforcement Today previously reported on the brawl that spanned several blocks between Antifa and Proud Boys member that occurred back on August 22nd, with our previous report also highlighting the bizarre absence of police.

To say the least, the optics were frankly abysmal.

Two opposing groups consisting of Antifa militants on one side and Proud Boys on the other clashed literally in the streets and across business parking lots – with Antifa members hurling fireworks used as improvised explosives at Proud Boys, and Proud Boys using some sort of non-lethal CO2-powered rifles against Antifa members.

Not to mention, both groups had various individuals among them carrying large cans of mace or bear spray and were using them against each other.

The groups would at times weave in-and-out of ongoing traffic while on foot, continuing the fray and traffic being stopped and having a front-row seat to the clash.

And the public also noticed that police were nowhere in sight while the groups duked it out.

Portland Police and city officials were actually well aware that something was likely to happen on August 22nd, as Portland Police Chief Chuck Lovell issued a statement two days prior to the brawl, noting that police will not be dispatched to get “in the middle” of opposing groups who decide to fight each other:

“You should not expect to see police officers standing in the middle of the crowd trying to keep people apart. People should keep themselves apart and avoid physical confrontation.”

On August 23rd, the day after the brawl in Portland, Mayor Wheeler issued a statement addressing the lack of police immediately responding to the clashing groups, supporting Chief Lovell’s decision to not have police intervene between groups engaged in mutual combat:

“In the past, these same groups have clashed with extremely violent and destructive results. This time, violence was contained to the groups of people who chose to engage in violence toward each other. The community at large was not harmed and the broader public was protected. Property damage was minimal.”

However, Mayor Wheeler has since backtracked those supportive sentiments, following the heavy criticisms coming from both local residents and media reports that scrutinized the approach.

During a Portland City Council meeting held on September 7th, Mayor Wheeler stated the following about the previously employed tactic that resulted in public outrage:

“It is clear based on the public outcry, on the media outcry, on the national front, that that strategy was not the right strategy. I think we can all acknowledge that. I take full responsibility for it.”

Mayor Wheeler acknowledged that his city happens to serve as “ground zero” for violent clashes between groups hosting opposing political ideologies – but seemed to cast heavier blame on “alt-right” groups coming to demonstrate and simply being met with what he called “a response” from his own band of violent locals who adorn black bloc:

“Portland is unique, in that we do seem to be ground zero for alt-right groups to come into our town because they know they’ll get a response. And they do.”

The mayor is struggling to figure out what exactly the city wants in terms of a police response; as he correctly noted that when police respond to riots then he faces criticism, and clearly when they don’t respond to riots – he also comes under criticism:

“The public doesn’t want an overwhelming police presence, nor do they want the appearance that the police are not going to get engaged.”

When it comes to Portland, it seems that there’s a lacking hardline answer on how to appease the local populace.

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Author: Gregory Hoyt


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