Portland Dad: To Combat Gun Violence “Requires Someone To Be Bold”
Portland Police Association executive director Daryl Turner says police staff shortages and funding have contributed to the increase in gun violence
PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – The executive director of the Portland Police Association believes staffing shortages at the police station are contributing to the city’s fight against gun violence.
So far in 2021, Portland has seen 889 shootings and 46 homicides involving guns, according to police data. In recent days there have been shootings that have left more than 100 bushes litter the street near NE 95th and Prescott. Another 26 bullets were found near the SE 72nd and Woodstock. Woman narrowly escaped injury when one of the bullets went through his windshield and 2 other bullets hit a Portland Park Ranger truck.
Another recent shooting took place on September 4 in broad daylight in the Adam Johnson neighborhood of northeast Portland. His 3-year-old son and 5-year-old daughter were riding bikes and scooters around their house while in the front yard when they heard a vehicle speeding down the street and stopping at a stop sign. A man got out of the car and started yelling at people in the car behind him.
“I grabbed my 5 year old daughter who was on the sidewalk next to me, ran and hid her behind the fence,” Johnson said. “Just as I was putting her to bed, the shots rang out. “
Surveillance video shows people in the second car getting out and firing shots in the street. Johnson said at the time he did not know his son’s whereabouts. He must have run to the shooter and then down the driveway where he found his son safe in the garage.
“My son, when I picked it up, said ‘what are the bad guys doing?’ Johnson recalls.
Johnson wants to know what immediate action city leaders will take to prevent people from opening fire in neighborhoods.
“I would like our mayor to understand whatever action he takes, not everyone will like it – there will be people who will be upset by anything he does and our current situation demands that someone one be bold, ”he said.
Mayor Ted Wheeler and PPB Chief Chuck Lovell held a press conference on Friday to address public safety. During that meeting, KOIN 6 reporter Elise Haas asked Wheeler why he hadn’t responded to multiple requests for comment after the shooting near Johnson’s home.
“Honestly, I can’t answer that question, as I don’t know anything about this particular awareness in the office, but I’ll come right back to your question about accountability and what to do next,” Wheeler said.
PPA executive director Daryl Turner said staff shortages and city funding for the Portland Police Office are partly responsible for the rise in gun violence.
Turner said the city “immediately saw a spike in gun violence” after the PPB’s gun violence reduction team disbanded in the summer of 2020.
“Bring back the retired police officers into a role that can help address some of the gaps in street patrol personnel as well as the specialized units that we need to fill,” he said.
Wheeler said he was working on staffing the police office and would submit a proposal in the fall to fund a retirement / rehire initiative for the police. This could help the PPB to rapidly increase the number of active officers on a limited time basis.
City leaders are expected to discuss the PPB budget at the end of September.