I didn't get to this yesterday, what with our production deadline chomping down. But it's still worth noting a couple of the highlights tucked in the 72 pages that make up the Portland Police Bureau's proposed $163.2 million budget.
The most interesting, given the discomfiting surge of police shootings since last January? Details on which less-lethal devices the bureau is investigating:
Insanely bright flashlights/pepper-spray dispensers meant to utterly blind someone unlucky enough to get it shined/sprayed in their eyes, new beanbag shotgun rounds, and shoulder-fired Tasers that promise dozens more feet of separation between cops and anyone in a standoff with them. (Although, to be technical, Tasers aren't always "less-lethal.")
About the TigerLights:
And all about the Tasers:
For more highlights, keep reading.
The other interesting piece of the proposal concerns some of the one-time expenditures Police Chief Mike Reese has requested. What's interesting, mainly, is that there's scant new money for helping the bureau better work with the mentally ill or for helping offenders find their way into the social services safety net.
For instance, the proposal mentions the desire to add a supervisor to the bureau's Project Respond team, which pairs one mental health worker and one cop in a roving, daytime unit. But no new money is being requested. The proposal also isn't seeking any more money for the bureau's work with Central City Concern and Hooper Detox, and it would add just $130,000 more (out of more than $1.8 million) for a special unit meant to get people into treatment, health care or housing.
But, then again, the bureau needs money for the $5 million-plus in pay perks and raises it's offered union members in exchange for drug testing and other policy victories, such as limiting how comp time is used and getting nominal buy-in on civilian oversight (which, incidentally, costs $200,000).
Meanwhile, there's also talk about a training center at the Portland International Raceway. That's a subject first reported by the li'l' ol' Mercury (albeit quite low in the story; the O had a deeper piece a couple weeks later) right here.
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