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Portland Police Morale Sinks To New Low Amid ‘Catastrophically Low’ Staffing Levels And Surging Crime Rate

Portland, OR – A recent survey revealed that nearly all of the defunded Portland Police Bureau’s (PPB) rank-and-file officers believe local government officials are against them.

“Our members don’t feel supported by their elected officials, don’t feel supported by the political agenda that is a false narrative that is out there in the City of Portland, and don’t feel valued,” Portland Police Association (PPA) Executive Director Daryl Turner told KPTV.

Turner said the survey results indicate the PPA’s morale is extremely low and continuing to decline.

“No one is standing up for what is actually right,” one officer wrote, according to KPTV. “Public safety has been abandoned by the city council for political performance.”

Politicians have been tying officers’ hands, creating more and more victims as a result, another officer said.

“Hard to be a cop when elected officials think it’s our job to investigate not prevent crime,” the officer’s survey response read. “Tell it to the victims.”

At least 130 sworn PPB employees have either retired or resigned since July of 2020, KPTV reported.

“Catastrophically low staffing levels make officers’ jobs even harder at a time when Portland is seeing historic crime rates,” Turner told KPTV.

“We’re not doing a great job of policing out there because we’re not allowed to, not because the officers out there don’t want to, not because the investigators don’t want to,” he added. “It’s because we’re handcuffed, and that’s a frustration that they carried through the job, and that’s why morale is so low, and that’s why it’s hard to retain and recruit new officers.”

PPB Chief Chuck Lovell released a statement in the wake of the survey results saying he will continue to try to find ways to bolster the morale of the agency’s rank-and-file officers, KPTV reported.

“Portland Police Association Members, and all Portland police employees, are working under very challenging conditions,” Chief Lovell acknowledged. “They do have my support. I have to keep looking for ways to show them that.”

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler’s office has not responded to a request for comment on the survey results, KPTV reported.

Written by
Holly Matkin

Holly is a former probation and parole officer who is married to a sheriff’s deputy. She is a regular contributor to Signature Montana magazine, and has written feature articles for Distinctly Montana magazine.

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Written by Holly Matkin

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