As a result of almost daily protests and city council meetings this past month, the Eugene Police Department is undergoing policy changes, and could face budgetary reform.
Police Chief Chris Skinner says he acknowledges his team is facing ridicule from protest groups. He says he’s working with the department to make sure the community has a safe space to exercise their freedom of speech.
"There have been many other areas of the system that have failed people before we get to them and oftentimes law enforcement is the last step,” says Skinner. “So we need to build a system that meets peoples’ needs long before law enforcement has interaction, and I think we’re excited and find this to be a tremendous opportunity to reform policing and start putting resources where the needs are."
Skinner says forward thinking with the EPD is difficult at the moment because of the frequency of protests, but internal reform and safety for the public and officers is a top priority.