Portland, Ore., police officers are fleeing the city’s force, and often taking a hit to pay and benefits to do so. The flight of law enforcement from the city is “unprecedented,” Assistant Chief Michael Frome told the Portland Tribune. “We really have not seen this many people leaving at this stage in their career.”
The activists’ calls to cut police budgets were picked up by some of Portland’s elected officials. In June, the City Council approved a $15 million cut to the police department’s budget to funnel more money into spending on social programs.
The cut sent the bureau reeling as it laid off some officers and cut its recruiter position since the department did not have money to make new hires anyway. The department cut vacant positions that it had historically held open to keep a steady stream of recruits, which require 18 months of training to begin independent police work, coming into the force.
“When the cuts came in and we basically lost our vacancies, that put us in a bigger fiscal hole than we were anticipating being in,” Frome said. “We didn’t have the money to hire, so we laid off basically half of our background investigators. We laid off our recruiter, because we just did not see a position in the near future where we were going to be able to use them to capacity.”