Eugene City Council may add police funding as public safety needs grow

On Wednesday the Eugene City Council took the first step in adding almost $9 million to fight crime starting in January.

Posted: Sep. 27, 2018 5:04 PM
Updated: Sep. 27, 2018 5:04 PM

EUGENE, Ore. -- As Eugene’s population has grown over the last five years, public safety needs have also grown, and city leaders are looking to make a change.

Eugene police said that calls for service have increased by 21 percent. Response time for calls has increased by almost 20 minutes, and officers are unable to respond to one out of three calls because of a lack of resources.

On Wednesday the Eugene City Council took the first step in adding almost $9 million to fight crime starting in January -- a one-time boost in funding.

The money will be used to add more patrol officers, service officers and 911 dispatchers in the community.

City Councilor Emily Semple said she hopes the community will get excited that changes are going to be made.

“This is the happiest day I have had as a counselor because it gives me hope. It is giving me hope for a change and a hope to help all of us, especially our most vulnerable,” Semple said.

Eugene resident Josh Stone said this funding is badly needed for the safety of his neighborhood and family. Stone said his community has had an enormous amount of robberies in the past few months and things aren't getting better.

He said a burglar tried to break into his house Wednesday, and his fiancé who was home at the time called 911. Police never came to the house, even with the surveillance video he provided of the man attempting to break in.

“I don’t feel safe leaving her and the kids in the house alone without a loaded firearm on the ground just because of the simple fact of what happened yesterday -- that they didn’t come out and check. They just said they were going to make that police report and surveil the area," Stone said. 

Councilors said they will continue to look for more long-term solutions, possibly including higher taxes.

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