Staffing shortage no longer an excuse for lack of police response, Wheeler says

 Mayor Ted Wheeler had strong words Wednesday for the city’s police chief.

“We have now acknowledged we have a staffing shortage," he said during a City Council meeting. "Let’s stop talking about that. Let’s stop talking about our inability to respond to crime in the community. Let’s stop advertising to criminals that they’re going to get away with it."

He said it’s time to stop making excuses about why officers are unable to respond to crime in the community.

Time and again police had said they are not able to respond to certain incidents due to understaffing. Wheeler said that’s unacceptable.

"I think we should stop using the messaging at every turn that the reason we can’t help our citizens with basic criminal justice issues is that we don’t have the personnel. (Expletive deleted). We got to figure out better ways to address this crisis,” he said.

Just this week, police said they were unable to respond to a street racing takeover in the Lloyd District over the weekend.

They said too many officers were tied up on other calls to safety respond, as large crowd control events typically require a large number of officers.

Wheeler said the city needs to find concrete solutions “with what we’ve got.”

He also said the city needs to strengthen its recruiting infrastructure.

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