More Portland police officers have been walking and biking along their beats this summer, said Mayor Ted Wheeler. The goal of the pilot project, which continues through September, is to build positive relationships and address public safety issues, he said.
The project began in six areas of the city, he said. These include Laurelhurst Park, the Hawthorne business district, Ankeny Alley, North Park Blocks, Oldtown/Chinatown and the Springwater Corridor.
“I am committed to creating a twenty-first century police force and to improving livability in Portland,” Wheeler said. “This program moves us forward in achieving both.”
The pilot builds on President Barack Obama’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing, the mayor said. The task force recommends “assigning officers to geographic areas on a consistent basis so that through the continuity of assignment they have the opportunity to know the members of the community.”
In addition, the approach could align efforts with the innovative Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion program. It allows police officers to send low-level offenders involved in drug activity to intensive case management tailored to an individual’s needs instead of prosecution and jail.
The project is undergoing continuous evaluation to determine what next steps may be taken, said Michael Cox, a spokesman for the mayor.