PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Portland police say they’ve created a specialized team of officers and detectives to focus full-time on shooting investigations as gun violence has increased in the last year.
The Oregonian/OregonLive reports the Enhanced Community Safety Team will be comprised of three sergeants, 12 officers and six detectives.
They’ll staff a seven member on-call unit of officers to respond to shooting scenes, examine evidence, interview witnesses and do immediate follow-up investigations.
Sergeants will determine when to send out the on-call officers, Deputy Chief Chris Davis said.
The move is what Police Chief Chuck Lovell proposed in a December memo to Mayor Ted Wheeler, who serves as police commissioner. Wheeler two weeks ago expressed support for the plan.
The estimated cost is $153,348 through June and $306,695 next fiscal year, for a total of $460,043. Though a specific source of the funding hasn’t been identified, the first on-call response occurred Thursday, when a sergeant, two detectives and four officers responded to a shooting in North Portland, Davis said.
The city recorded 55 homicides in 2020, the highest number in 26 years. Forty-one of those resulted from gun violence, according to the Police Bureau.
The new team’s focus will be on identifying and arresting what police suspect is a “narrow” group of repeat shooters, Davis said.