Plan to address gun violence will nearly double Portland’s park rangers
The Portland City Council in Oregon has a new plan to fight a rising tide of gun violence: deploying unarmed park rangers who are not sworn law enforcement officers in some of the city’s most dangerous quarters.
The city moved forward with the plan on Wednesday, giving the rangers a $1.4 million boost to “provide a positive, unarmed community safety presence in Portland’s parks and surrounding neighborhoods.” People in the program can enforce park ordinances, and “when voluntary compliance cannot be gained, exclusions or ejections may be used, as well as civil penalties in limited cases.”
Costing the city nearly $6 million, the plan does not allocate anything to bolster the Portland Police Bureau as the area has experienced roughly 250 shootings in 2021 so far, compared to 111 in the first few months of 2020. Instead, law enforcement officers have been directed to “realign internal resources to create six (6) additional assault investigative detectives and one (1) sergeant to coordinate on gun-related investigations.”