September 13, 2012
I am deeply troubled by the Department of Justice’s finding that the Portland Police Bureau has engaged in a pattern and practice of excessive force against people with mental illness.
While I applaud Chief Reese and the Bureau for steps they have already taken to address this problem, more needs to be done.
The report acknowledges serious deficiencies in our mental health system. Nonetheless, people suffering from the often debilitating effects of a mental health crisis should never have to fear unnecessary use of force by Portland law enforcement.
The Justice Department report emphasizes the strong link between people suffering from mental illness and homelessness.
As the Commissioner in Charge of Housing, I call for a renewed commitment to investing in housing and services for those in need.
We know what works, including prevention and treatment. We also know that we cannot be successful without a strong federal partner.
This report tells us that we are failing those who need us the most. It is a call to action, and I pledge to do my part.