Community Safety and Services

Over the past 5 years, Eugene's population has grown and so have our public safety needs. While many creative programs have been applied to this problem to maximize resources and meet community needs, the growing demand continues to outpace capacity causing critical gaps in community safety and services. Our 911, Police, Fire & Emergency Medical Service (EMS), and Municipal Courts need attention now. 

A System Under Pressure

In the past 5 years:

  • Eugene 911 calls have increased 21%
  • Police and 911 staffing has remained flat
  • Average wait time has increased by 20 minutes
  • Police are unable to respond to 1 out of 3 calls due to lack of patrol resources
    (Note: These are calls about non-life threatening situations, but are serious issues, such as a burglary that occurred earlier or other quality of life incidents.)

Our Fire & EMS face a similar problem. Many of their calls are for people experiencing chronic conditions that need ongoing care or help, but without many resources, they are forced to rely on emergency services. This means it can take longer for Fire & EMS to respond to people experiencing life threatening medical emergencies (ex: chest pain/cardiac arrest, stroke, trauma, breathing and sepsis).

The Municipal Court also does not have sufficient resources to maintain the level of service needed.

The 911 call takers, Police, and Fire & EMS personnel want to respond, but our community's needs have outpaced flat staffing levels. As Eugene's population continues to grow, the gap between what our services can provide and what our community needs will only continue to increase without action. 

What We've Done

Our system includes many services and agencies that work together to try and prevent, respond to, and resolve public safety incidents. By working with local partners and looking for creative solutions, we've maximized our public safety resources for our growing population with its increasing needs. The City and its partners have created "off-ramps" from the criminal justice system through social services and other programs for our most vulnerable, as well as frequent offenders. Examples of these program include:

This work has focused on connecting people with services that address their underlying issues, significantly reducing the likelihood of future offenses or the need for emergency services. However, these programs target individuals and not the whole system. Furthermore, these programs have relied heavily on grants, one-time funding and reallocating existing resources. 

What's Next?

Eugene expects to see slow but steady growth over the next many years. We need to have additional public safety resources to plug the gaps, and maintain our safety and quality of life. 

Our 911, Police, Fire & EMS, and Municipal Courts need attention and the City Council will be looking at potential strategies and funding options this fall. 

Right now, we are reaching out to get a better understanding of the community's priorities for community safety and services. 

  1. Identifying Solutions
  2. Seeking Community Input
  3. Timeline
  4. Learn More

Desired Outcomes

  • Build community trust 
  • Increase safety
  • Focus on prevention
  • Strengthen partnerships and coordination
  • Reduce police response time

Stabilizing our System

Seeking long-term solutions will mean:

  • Taking a hard look at staffing levels and the community's needs, and adding what is necessary.
  • Sustainably funding and expanding programs and services that reduce pressure on the system by helping connect people to social services rather than having them continue to cycle through the justice system.

Community Engagement

Eugene Police and Fire officials, along with other City staff, are attending community events all summer to talk about community safety issues and to gather feedback from the public about priorities and expected levels of service. See the Seeking Community Input tab for a list of community events and other ways to provide input.