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Efforts in Portland to appease the left amid months of rioting and calls to defund the police have apparently backfired as the wave of violence has caused a massive spike in money needed for police.
All of the looting, vandalism, rioting and anti-police violence over the past few months in the Oregon city have resulted in a 200% increase in overtime spending and expenses in the very department that activists and municipal government officials have been bashing.
The Portland Police Bureau spent almost $7 million on overtime pay during the summer months, compared to the $2.3 million spent in the same time period last year, KATU reported Tuesday.
Nightly anti-police riots sparked in late May after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis cost $6.9 million in overtime and other expenses for the PPB, even as local leaders and Black Lives Matter activists have been calling for defunding law enforcement.
Amid the rioting, in which government buildings, including a federal courthouse, were attacked and a local police precinct was torched, the city council voted to cut $15 million from police funding in June. That did not even satisfy some protesters who demanded more and, as Democrat Mayor Ted Wheeler and others did little to quell the violence or back strained law enforcement, police noted that 51 officers retired in August.
At the time, Wheeler had contended that cutting police funds “down to zero” was not feasible.
“I most certainly will not decrease the funding of the police bureau down to zero because at the end of the day criminal activity still happens in the community,” he admitted in June. “Dozens of people call for police assistance throughout the year and we still need robust public safety to function in this community.”
According to KATU:
The sharp uptick in overtime spending during June and July account for more than half of what police had spent on overtime throughout all of 2020. From January through the end of July, PPB spent $11.4 million on OT. Last year, through mid-July, police had spent $7.7 million.
The outlet noted that on June 1, as the protests broke out, the Portland Police Bureau “spent nearly $50,000 on chemical munitions, pepper spray and other related items.” A few weeks later, another $20,398 was spent on munitions and equipment which, according to records obtained by KATU, included “more than $8,000 for 260 tear gas canisters.”
More than $40,000 was spent by the Bureau in June and July for fencing in order to protect buildings and keep rioters out. Wheeler’s office indicated that Portland also spent $30,000 on wooden fencing to surround City Hall back in June but it was eventually removed.
While protesters clamor for the defunding, or even dismantling, of police departments, the ongoing violence continues in Portland amid efforts of control by strained law enforcement.
— Andy Ngô (@MrAndyNgo) September 9, 2020
Portland Police Chief Chuck Lovell had addressed the millions in extra police costs back in June.
“There may be those who will attempt to blame PPB for spending millions during a time when there are calls to cut the Police Bureau’s budget,‘’ Lovell said in a statement at the time. “We cannot afford to not respond with public safety personnel during this critical time.”
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