Community Safety Initiative
The Community Safety System
The Community Safety System includes police, fire, 911, municipal court, prevention and social services, which are interdependent and work together.
What is the problem?
Our Community Safety System is stressed
- Calls for police service increased 21% from 2014-17.
- Staffing levels have remained relatively flat.
- One out of three non-life threatening police calls for service receive no response, and general response times have increased by 20 minutes.
- The number of unsheltered homeless adults is significantly higher than in many other similar communities.
While many creative programs have been applied to this problem to maximize resources and meet community needs, the growing demand continues to outpace capacity.
What is the plan?
The Eugene City Council passed the Community Safety Payroll Tax Ordinance (No. 20616) in June 2019 to provide long-term funding for community safety services. The Community Safety Payroll Tax is expected to generate funds to provide faster, more efficient safety responses, deter crime, connect people to services, engage and help at-risk youth, support more investigations and court services, and add jail beds to reduce capacity-based releases and hold those who commit crimes accountable.
Many people are seen repeatedly. The goal is to reduce those interactions and help people deal with their challenges. Community partners are integral.
- Deter crime
- Connect people to services
- Engage at-risk youth early
This is the first priority with the goals of:
- Answering more calls
- Getting to more crimes faster
- Using new tools and methods to increase efficiency
The goal is to resolve every situation in a way that is best for the people involved, as well as the community.
- More investigations
- More court services
- More accountability
At their July 20 work session, the City Council passed two motions related to getting additional input from Communities of Color about community safety funding and police policies. Staff are currently working on these efforts and more information will be provided as soon as it is available.
Below is a brief summary of each motion:
Community Safety Initiative workshops
The City Council directed the City Manager to convene workshops with organizations representing Communities of Color to get feedback on possible changes or additions to the Community Safety Initiative that would respond to the needs of their communities. The Council discussed and provided feedback on the initial workshop plan in September and staff will return in October with an updated process and timeline for Council consideration.
Police Policy Ad Hoc Council Committee
The City Council voted to create an ad hoc committee to review current police policies related to Campaign Zero’s policy solutions and the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing. This group will prepare and submit a report to the City Council recommending policy changes to current police policy by January 31, 2021.
Read more about the Police Policy Ad Hoc Council Committee, see a schedule of upcoming virtual meetings and instructions about how to watch/listen, and learn about committee members.
Watch the July 20 City Council Work Session. Following a presentation by Eugene Police Chief Skinner, the Council had a discussion about public safety funding and how to most effectively bring a broad array of perspectives and priorities into our discussions of structural change.
- 40 patrol officers, 5 detectives, 4 sergeants and lieutenant
- 10 community service officers, sergeant and lieutenant
- 9.5 staff for 911
- Street Crimes Unit
- Animal welfare and traffic safety officers
- Evidence control and forensic analysts
- 10 additional jail beds and increased jail services
- Opening 3rd municipal courtroom with additional staffing
- 911 triage/community response unit
- Expansion of Community Court and Mental Health Court
- Enhanced homelessness services – emergency shelters options and day center
- After school programs at Title 1 schools
Funds will only be used to pay for community safety services. Protections in the proposed ordinance passed by the Council include:
- Creating a separate fund for payroll tax revenue
- Ensuring that payroll tax funds won’t replace existing funding
- Requiring an independent financial audit
- Establishing a citizen advisory board to review annual performance audits
- Requiring a 7-year review and reauthorization
- Charter amendment capping the rates and limiting use to community safety