Portland Mayor Pushes Forward Plan To Use Unarmed 'Officers'

Mayor Ted Wheeler disbanded the mounted police so the city could hire unarmed non-sworn officers

Portland, OR – The mayor of Portland has plans to start a pilot program where non-sworn officers will not carry weapons and be used on non-emergency calls.

Mayor Ted Wheeler’s plan needs final approval by the City Council on Dec. 5, according to the Williamette Week.

The non-sworn officers are called Public Safety Support Specialists and will be utilized on property crimes and break-ins, according to Wheeler.

The mayor cut the city’s mounted police from the budget so he could fund the Public Safety Support Specialists, which could be hired in January, according to the Williamette Week.

The police union has been in negotiations since July with the city over the new hires.

Portland Police Association President Daryl Turner says the Public Safety Support Specialists won’t respond to calls for service without being accompanied by a sworn officer. Turner said they may provide support by working at the front desks at precincts or waiting for tow trucks at the scene of car accidents, according to the Williamette Week.

Proponents of hiring the Public Safety Support Specialists said they could build more trust with citizens.

Wheeler had promised to use the saving from cutting the mounted police to fund 14 unarmed community service officers, the Williamette Week reported.

"When you bring your gun and a badge into a situation, it can make some people uneasy," says Sam Sachs, a former Portland park ranger, according to the Williamette Week. "If you're not wearing a gun, it kind of changes things."

The unarmed Public Safety Support Specialists were pitched in 2017. Originally, they were supposed to be working by January of 2019, but city officials admit that won’t happen.

In 2017, then Police Chief Mike Marshman said the program was to be modeled after one in San Diego. Community service officers in San Diego patrol neighborhoods and write reports and also help children cross the streets after school, according to the Williamette Week.

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GerSan
GerSan

I guess they've forgotten William Hall. He was a uniformed, unarmed city employee who was gunned down in downtown Portland by a career criminal from Colorado in 1992 because he was mistaken for a policeman. His killer, Ernest Lotches, known also in CO as Kneka Knoke, is still on Oregon's Death Row.

charlesjandecka
charlesjandecka

Wow!! What a terrific idea! Move over Mayberry, here comes the "Big Rock Candy Mountain!"

CBw1976
CBw1976

So I guess they will just put people in timeout, then hand out trophies for those that participated in the timeout...

citizensrights
citizensrights

Citizens are tired of the tyranny that a lot of police are distributing. To many cops are violating citizen's 1, 2, and 4th amendments, even to the tune of actually entering their homes without a warrant. Cops everywhere are assaulting them when no crimes have been committed, but that cops demand obedience. To many cops are destructive and citizens are more scared of them than respect them and to many cops take that as contempt. They are NOT our friends. They are officers charged with arrests and revenue generation. No longer to protect and serve.

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