Rep. John Katko (R-NY), Ranking Member of the House Committee on Homeland Security, and Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA) met last week with law enforcement officials to discuss issues facing Portland-area police departments including rising crime, training and recruitment concerns, and budgetary challenges. Following the roundtable, the Members held a brief media availability.

Ranking Member Katko:

  • The Facts Don’t Lie: “They defunded their police to cut $16 million from the Portland Police Department. They cut 84 jobs from the Portland Police Department and they eliminated the gun unit. And what was the end result? You see it right here in front of you. Facts don’t lie. You defund police, and this is what happens.”
  • Highest Murder Rate in Three Decades: “Murders in Portland are up 533%. If they stay on this pace, we’ll have the highest murder rate in over three decades in the City of Portland. It’s not just the fact that shootings are off the hook as well.”
  • Lawless State: “Every officer in every department is making active decisions to be less vigilant, so they don’t get unfairly accused of something that’s not good. Many people say I won’t take my kids to Portland. That’s not good for the economy. It is a lawless state.”
  • Can’t Have It Both Ways: “There are areas we need to improve in law enforcement, but when you take money away from cops, you can’t retrain them. When you take money away from cops, you can’t expect them to keep your community safe. I guarantee you there’s not a person out there right now that if someone was on a street corner pointing a gun at you, you wouldn’t call a cop to come and save you.”
  • Minority Communities Suffering: “Based on my conversation today it’s pretty clear that the minority populations are suffering disproportionately from the huge spike in violence that these facts undeniably show.”
  • Actions Have Consequences: “These officers are not criminals. They’re trying to protect you from criminals and keep you safe. And if you think they can do their job better, give them the tools and give them the money to do it. You know I think it’s telling that they cut $16 million from the Portland Police Department last year, and now the mayor is quietly asking for $2 million back. The mayor knows what’s going on.”

Rep. Herrera Beutler:

  • Lacking Critical Support: “The takeaway today is we had a conversation that was very candid. I got to hear just how difficult we have made it for police officers to protect our communities. I was astounded to hear that, we as lawmakers or local elected officials or city councilors, tell them to go out, defend us, stop the violence, pick up when we call 911, save us, and yet then we yank it back. We either say you’re out there on your own, you’re going to have to defend yourself, or we’re going to change rules on you. They don’t know day to day whether they’re going to have the backup or support to do one of the most difficult jobs that we have in our society.”
  • Humbled By Their Commitment: “Nobody, no institution in this country is perfect. This country is not perfect, but I am so proud and humbled that men and women every day in our communities in southwest Washington and in Portland, continue to put on the uniform, and really be willing to take, not just smears and insults, but bodily harm. It really makes me want to redouble our efforts on the federal level.”
  • Border Crisis Infiltrating Communities: “We need to do everything we can to back them up and back up our communities who are going to stand beside our police officers, because the violent crime and the incredible increase in drug use that we see coming right up from Mexico, coming right through our borders. The rise in gang violence, all of that is increasing exponentially, and we have to change it. And the men and women who serve us on our police forces are a big part of the frontlines to changing that.”
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