Democrat Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler announced on Tuesday that law enforcement will not be doing much enforcing at all.
Police officers in Portland have been told to stand down when it comes to low-level classified traffic infractions, which include broken headlights and expired plates, unless officers have determined a threat. When an officer pulls over a civilian, the policeman is now required to capture a video of consent prior to searching the vehicle, and the person may refuse.
“I know we have a lot more work to do, but these changes constitute significant progress in our work to reimagine our public safety system for the better and to continue operationalizing our city core values of anti-racism, communication, collaboration, equity, transparency, and fiscal responsibility,” Wheeler said. “The goal of these two changes is to make our safety safer and more equitable.”
Portland Police Bureau Chief Chuck Lovell participated in the conference with Wheeler, which took place over video. Lovell said the department is operating on “limited resources and we’re trying to direct those resources most appropriately,” a result of failed Democrat policies that have led to shorthanded precincts and unfettered crime.
Portland emerged as one of the first cities nationwide to defund the police, slashing the budget by $16 million in June 2020. Riots ravaged Portland for 100 days straight, as Antifa and Black Lives Matter activists took to the streets.
“But given the resources that we have and the limited time officers have to do this type of enforcement, I’m directing our sworn personnel to focus on safety violations and enforcement and high crash corridors,” Wheeler said. “Stops of nonmoving violations or lower-level infractions are still allowed, but with an emphasis on safety and have actionable investigative factor to them.”
Dru Draper, communications director for the Oregon Senate GOP, told The Federalist Wheeler is going against basic data. He also indicated Democrats in the legislature are gearing up to pass a budget that only bolsters the number of Oregon State Police Troopers by 28 officers.
“These traffic stops often lead to stopping larger crimes,” Draper said. “Over the weekend, Oregon State Police made a traffic stop and found nearly 60 pounds of methamphetamine, cocaine, and fentanyl — which are poisoning our communities. Democrats will stop at nothing to dismantle the police and render them completely ineffective at keeping Oregonians safe. They deserve better.”
Since July 1, 2020, at least 130 officers have ceased to work at the department, 75 of which resigned, according to The Oregonian. While the department can employ a total of 916 officers, it now has only 812. Lovell said last week that “it’s tough to move forward when you’re really dealing with a lot of setbacks,” though he seems to have given into Wheeler’s politically motivated move to target police.
“This insane assault on cops’ ability to do their jobs has got to stop,” Nate Hochman, a Publius Fellow at the Claremont Institute and a Portland native told The Federalist. “The Portland riots, the breakdown of order, the burgeoning homelessness crisis, and the refusal from city leaders like Ted Wheeler to enforce basic laws in the city has done serious, lasting damage to the community.”