Oregon Governor Tina Kotek has requested the assistance of the Oregon State Police in combating the growing problem of street racing and street takeovers in Portland.
The Oregonian broke the story, and both Kotek’s office and Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler confirmed it, but neither provided any specifics on how the two police departments will cooperate.
“The Governor is pleased with the expanded collaboration between the Portland Police Bureau and the Oregon State Police to address emerging issues like street racing as well as increase DUII enforcement to improve safety on our streets,” press secretary Elizabeth Shepard said.
According to Wheeler’s statement, the idea is a collaboration between the state and Portland police to reduce street takeovers and increase traffic and DUII enforcement.
Recently, concerns have been raised regarding the disruptive and often fatal practice of street takeovers and street racing in Portland. Some instances have proven difficult for police to disperse of late, despite their best efforts.
A measure that would increase the maximum prison sentence and penalties for anybody found guilty of organizing street racing was proposed in Salem earlier this year. After being approved by the Oregon Senate last week, the measure moved to the House.
A PPB spokesperson, commenting on an incident that took place recently outside the Lloyd Center, noted such street takeover events might include dozens of cars and hundreds of people, necessitating a massive and planned police reaction to stop them safely, and that PPB doesn’t always have enough officers available to mount such a response.
According to Shepard, Kotek, and Wheeler are concerned about police staffing levels and have agreed to lobby for an additional $6.8 million over the next two years to solve the state’s law enforcement training backlog.
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As for the Governor’s proposal to increase funds and workforce at DPSST, Wheeler stated, “I also appreciate and strongly support the Governor’s plan to help clear the backlog of new officers eagerly awaiting training and certification.”
“PPB has done a tremendous job of recruiting and hiring over 100 sworn staff with diverse lived experience who are committed to serving our community. With these concrete steps, they can get to work more quickly and make Portland safer for everyone.”
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