Testimony on the City of Portland Fall Budget Monitoring Process

The Portland Raging Grannies’ Racial/Immigration Justice Team submitted video testimony at the City of Portland Fall Budget Monitoring Process meeting on October 6, 2020. The following statement was entered into the record by Granny Teri Kaliher.

The Portland Raging Grannies want to see bold action from leaders on policing.

Now is the time to divest major funding from our current racist, broken police department.

City audits and other reports indicate that the PPB mismanages its money. Instead of giving the police a blank check and cutting other bureaus, the PPB should take a disproportionate cut in upcoming budgets. The savings need to be invested in ways that support the safety and community of our BIPOC neighbors.

We are faced with a number of problems, but the police have never been shown to be the most effective ways of dealing with problems in schools, transit, or homelessness. Police gang teams end up hurting the people they are supposed to protect. It is our understanding that police untrained in dealing with mental health crises would prefer to have trained professionals answer those calls. We support this.

SWAT teams, intelligence units, expensive “special units” and all the heavy fancy camo equipment and vehicles do not belong in community policing. Nor does qualified immunity.

Qualified immunity gives police overreaching power to act as they see fit with no legal consequences. People have protested this – and the police have been paid overtime, even when they have brutalized protesters. This doesn’t make sense.

Although funding for the PPB needs to be drastically reduced, the bureau needs increased funding for training and a review of officers’ conduct to  flag any inappropriate behavior.

In the past, Portland Police have acted like they’re above reproach and above the law. Decreasing their funding can be a consequence for their lawless violence. We need increased funding for mental health, parks, fire departments, and of course education.

The PPB needs to be an important part of rebuilding our community. They can start by contributing funding.