More officers and youth intervention programs were among some of the needs discussed at a Eugene City Council work session on Oct. 11. The meeting focused on the Community Safety Initiative.
The CSI’s aimed at addressing gaps in community safety as the city grows. A few of the issues identified include police seeing an increase in calls for service, a lack of municipal court alternatives, insufficient funding for ambulance services, and homelessness.
Eugene Police Chief Chris Skinner said demand for police services is high, but he said with the help of funding from the CSI, the department has the opportunity to retain and recruit more officers. One of his suggestions included developing wellness programs for officers. Councilor Emily Semple supported the idea.
“You put a population of homeless who usually have not had enough sleep as well as a myriad of other problems interacting with officers who haven’t had enough sleep and we have problems so I want more officers,” Semple said. “Not because I want more arrests, I want protection, and I want more safety.”
Other investments include programs for teens to keep them out of the criminal justice system. The CSI is funded by a payroll tax passed in 2019. It’s expected to generate more than $23 million a year.
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