Portland City Commissioner Chloe Eudaly announced Friday she will support a sweeping set of police reforms, including an end to the Gun Violence Reduction Team and the Transit Police. Those specialty units have come under mounting scrutiny, as thousands of people pour onto the streets for nightly protests against police brutality.
Eudaly underscored her support for the idea of defunding the two specialty units within the Portland Police Bureau in an email to constituents Friday afternoon.
“Commissioner Eudaly supports ending the Gun Violence Reduction Team and Transit Police — this will require amending the budget, but we are optimistic that these specialty units will be disbanded,” the note read.
The email said her office has received messages from over 10,000 Portlanders concerned about the two units, as well as the city's School Resource Officer program, which places armed officers at schools in the Portland Public, David Douglas and Parkrose districts. On Thursday, the mayor announced he'll end the program, after leaders at two of those districts had called on the officers to be removed from schools.
But the Transit Police, who act as law enforcement for TriMet, and the Gun Violence Reduction Team, a police unit tasked with preventing gun violence, remain. In voicing her support for defunding them, Eudaly joins fellow Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty, who has long been a critic of the units, calling them some of “the most racially unequal systems that we have within the Portland Police Bureau.”
A few weeks before the protests began, Hardesty and Mayor Ted Wheeler had agreed to review the use of the units and make recommendations to the Council on a path forward in February. But the protests appeared to have sped up that time table significantly. Hardesty said on Wednesday she planned to ask her colleagues to join her on defunding the two units ahead of a final vote on the budget in two weeks.
In a statement Friday, Eudaly outlined nine other points she's pushing for in the midst of mass protesting against police violence. These include declaring racism to be a public health and safety emergency, cutting vacant positions from the Portland Police Bureau and using money to invest in impacted communities, redirect cannabis tax dollars away from the police, as well as banning an array of police tactics, such as tear gas, or CS gas, and flash grenades.