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  This disturbing trend of gun violence in our streets has to stop, said Chief Chuck Lovell.   "Enough is enough. Portland is not supposed to be this way. Whether you are a local cop, federal agent, or prosecutor - there is a real concern about what's going on in the streets."  


Story by Portland Police Bureau
Published on Saturday May 15, 2021 - 4:57 AM
 
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PORTLAND, Oregon - A coalition of law enforcement and non-law enforcement partners are collaborating in an effort to quell the gun violence public health crisis in Portland.

The Portland Police Bureau is collaborating with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Portland office, the Portland Office of Violence Prevention (OVP), and the Multnomah County District Attorney's office for a special effort this weekend.

The Enhanced Community Safety Team (ECST) will have investigators on duty and in uniform and working with FBI Agents throughout the weekend. They'll act as a high visibility presence in the community, aimed at deterring those who are considering committing crimes. They will coordinate with on scene supervisors to respond to shootings, gather information, witness statements, and evidence, and immediately follow-up on leads. The FBI will provide investigative support and look for any appropriate nexus to federal crimes. Crime Prevention Outreach workers from OVP will also be in the community where needed to provide support and resources.

The community's message is clear. This disturbing trend of gun violence in our streets has to stop, said Chief Chuck Lovell. We are doing our part to respond quickly to the threat of gun violence, and we appreciate our partners' collaboration in developing a holistic response. I want to assure our community that we will follow the Constitution, Oregon law, and Bureau policy. But those who are committing gun crimes should know that we will be out working and making arrests when appropriate.

Statement from the FBI Portland:

The FBI - working with partners on the Metro Safe Streets Task Force - will be on the streets tonight and through the weekend, responding to shootings side-by-side with those in uniform. It will be a very visible effort with two goals in mind. First, the task force wants to show the community that it is working to bring peace to the streets. Second, the task force wants shooters to know that law enforcement is working assertively to find them and arrest them. Task force members will specifically respond to scenes to help identify shooters, victims, and witnesses who may be connected to an already established violent crime case and to help build such cases.

"Enough is enough. Portland is not supposed to be this way. Whether you are a local cop, federal agent, or prosecutor - there is a real concern about what's going on in the streets. Our biggest hope with this overt effort is that we can stop the seemingly indiscriminate cycle of violence that can be both retaliatory and random. We know that there are crime groups retaliating against other groups for perceived grievances. We also know that the number of bullets being fired - often dozens at any given scene - keep going until they hit something or someone. There are random, innocent victims who did nothing more than be in the wrong place at the wrong time," said Kieran L. Ramsey, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Oregon. "This is a whole of community problem, and we need the help of the faith community, outreach organizations, and neighborhood groups to help. There needs to be a commitment to action across the board, and together we can work to make sure families living in Portland don't have to fear bullets and blood in the streets."

Statement from Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt:

Our community is experiencing acute trauma, fear and anxiety associated with the unprecedented rise in gun crimes and the threat of continued violence. I share those feelings. There is an urgent need for everyone to recognize and respond to the profound and lasting harms inflicted by gun violence. I join community leaders and law enforcement to say I am worried about retaliatory and targeted shootings that may occur at funerals and vigils after someone is murdered. That is why as prosecutors, we will continue to prioritize and apply all of our legal resources and knowledge to investigating and prosecuting acts of gun violence to hold shooters accountable. We will remain strong allies with stakeholders and community to support and build innovative programs to interrupt the generational spread of gun crimes and programs and services that provide direct support to the people impacted by gun violence.

In Portland this year, there have been 31 homicides, 23 of which involved gunfire. At this point last year, there were 4 homicides. In 2019 there were 3. Preliminary data indicates that there have been 388 shootings (not including suicide attempts), 106 of which involved gunshot injuries. There have been 125 people hurt by gunfire this year.