After growing tension within the department, Portland can’t find enough officers to join unit focused on gun violence, rising murder rate;
Since 14 job openings were announced in May, only four police personnel have applied to work with the new version of Portland’s Gun Violence Reduction Team.
- Portland officers say such positions, once considered prestigious, are now less desirable, given the increased scrutiny that accompanies them. The new unit has its own citizen-advisory board, instituted after the old unit was criticized by city leaders for racial profiling. A job description says qualifications include the ability to fight systemic racism.
- “They’re demonizing and vilifying you, and then they want to put you in a unit where you’re under an even bigger microscope,” said Daryl Turner, head of the union that represents Portland’s officers.
- Portland police have coped with frequent late-night street violence in the past year, as well as criticism from politicians and activists on the right and left.