PORTLAND — About six weeks into his job as Portland’s police chief, Chuck Lovell has decided to boost the Police Bureau’s Community Engagement Division with a captain, one sergeant and five officers starting in August.
Lovell previously worked as the captain of community engagement and had one officer under his command in the approximately 950-member force, The Oregonian/OregonLive reported.
Lovell said Thursday he hopes the additional officers will allow for a “more robust capability to connect with the community.”
“I’ve always thought community engagement is super important,” he said. “If it’s that important, we need to put more resources towards it.”
Officer Jakhary Jackson, who joined the bureau in January 2011, is one of the officers selected to serve in the division and bureau spokesman Lt. Tina Jones will be promoted to captain to oversee it.
“I’m excited to hear from people who are creative, who want to see problems fixed, solutions,” Jackson said at a news conference.
Jones said she’s looking forward to her new role and said the team’s work “will be critical in how we heal and move forward as a community to build upon the relationships we already have and to find space for new ones.”
Lovell’s focus on increasing community engagement comes as the agency has eliminated its Gun Violence Reduction Team and its Youth Services Division of school resource officers as a direct result of a total of about $27 million in City Council budget cuts for the 2020-21 fiscal year.