PORTLAND, OR – The Portland Police Department issued a warning to residents on Monday that 911 response times may be delayed due to some “critical incidents” and the department’s massive “staff shortages.”
“Due to critical incidents happening today and PPB’s staffing shortage, officers are responding to Priority 1 and 2 calls only right now and response times may be delayed for certain calls,” the Portland Police Department wrote on Twitter.
“This year particular, we’ve been receiving a much higher than usual number of 911 calls,” Dan Douthit, spokesman for the Portland Bureau of Emergency Communications, told KCBY. “Something that we’ve been challenged by, because we want to answer calls as quickly as possible. But we’re seeing just this huge influx of calls and we’re not able to answer them all as quickly as we want to.”
Fox News reported that the Portland Police Department first announced that it was facing “critical” staffing shortages in January of this year, saying that this was happening “due to budget cuts, retirements and separations, and the backlog of needed training for new officers caused by the pandemic.”
After the vilification of police in liberal-run cities across the country last year, Portland saw 55 officers retire and 29 quit after 2020, leaving just 855 sworn members in the department.
Due to critical incidents happening today and PPB's staffing shortage, officers are responding to Priority 1 and 2 calls only right now and response times may be delayed for certain calls.
— Portland Police (@PortlandPolice) December 6, 2021
While the Portland City Council voted to cut $15 million from the police budget in June of 2020, it backtracked last month by voting to give $5.2 million to the police department.
This came after crime in the Oregon city skyrocketed, with a record number of 72 homicides already being reported in Portland this year. The money being allocated to the police department is set to be used to hire 200 sworn officers and 100 “unarmed community safety officers” over the course of the next three years.
Mayor Ted Wheeler, a Democrat who originally pushed the “defund the police” movement in the city, complained last month about the conditions in Portland as he begged the city council to allocate funds to the police department.
“Many Portlanders no longer feel safe in their city,” Wheeler said. “Business owners have closed up shop for fear of doing business in high-risk areas. Commuters fear for their safety, whether taking public transport or going by foot. Parents are scared to let their children play outside.”