UPDATED 7:57 AM PT – TUESDAY, AUGUST 9, 2022
Police departments across the country are finding it increasingly difficult to operate due to staffing shortages. While speaking to reporters on Monday, Portland Police Chief Chuck Lovell revealed that his department is short 100 officers, despite his city experiencing a near 207 percent increase in homicides since 2019.
Analysts say the current shortage is being driven by the demonization of the profession in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death and calls to defund the police from Black Lives Matter protesters.
“We, like many cities in the country, do have staffing challenges,” said Chief Lovell. “Currently, we have about 770 officers and we are authorized 882. So, we’re down about 100 officers at the time.”
Gresham Police Sgt. Travis Garrison said the spike in violent crime and the officer shortage is forcing his department to respond to only certain calls.
“So right now, because of the spike in violent crime, we’re only able to investigate murders,” he explained. “We’ll routinely respond to shootings, but if the person is going to survive, we are not going to follow up on that.”
Meanwhile, across the country in Los Angeles, LAPD Chief Michael Moore detailed how the department had to disband several specialized crime units due to their own shortage.
“A number of our specialized units have been either disbanded or significantly downsized as a result of the reduction in our workforce,” he stated. “Areas that have been disbanded include our Hope Teams. These are our homeless outreach efforts that were occurring in each of the four geographic bureaus.”
Despite this, law enforcement officials remain optimistic and are calling on their colleagues to continue working.
“This is going to take years for us to recover from and my hope is that the people that I work with, that they stick it out,” said Sgt. Garrison.