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
Increasing Service Level in FY22 and FY23
The City slowed the planned implementation of the CSI on the FY22 Adopted Budget from the previous implementation strategy due to caution regarding the unknown impact of the pandemic on employment and tax collection. However, payroll tax collection in 2021 yielded higher-than-projected revenue for the Community Safety Fund, allowing the organization to advance planned CSI implementation strategies. The FY22 December Supplemental Budget added $2.7 million to the Community Safety Initiative. The funding increased the City’s alternative police response and supported upstream investments focused on prevention, such as teen empowerment and behavioral inclusion. These additions will continue to be implemented as ongoing budget items in FY23.
The FY23 Proposed Budget adds ongoing funding for new CSI programs in Fire and Emergency Medical Services, services for the unhoused, Municipal Court, the City Prosecutor’s Office, and Police. These investments add operational support for increased service levels, support for the Police Downtown Team, and fund alternative response efforts in Police, Municipal Court, and Fire and EMS. The proposed budget also provides additional one-time funding for implementing these new strategies, such as gear and facility space for new officers.
Learn more at the FY23 Proposed Budget City Focus.
Eugene Police Department – Community Service Officers
Community Service Officers (CSOs) serve a vital role in enhancing response by providing an alternative response to sending a sworn officer and by keeping the community safe. They can respond to certain non-emergency calls for service rather than sending a fully sworn officer, allowing officers to respond to more emergency calls. CSOs perform public safety support duties involving non-criminal code enforcement such as taking post-incident burglary and other reports, public assistance, and support to sworn police officers. Among their duties are responding to non-emergency calls to perform services such as arranging for towing vehicles, retrieving stolen property, providing assistance at routine collision scenes, performing traffic control and traffic hazard removal, and writing citations, either independently or in a support role. CSOs may serve as desk officers and prepare written reports on incidents not requiring a police officer response, such as noncriminal requests for assistance and parking complaints. CSOs also provide information to individuals and businesses on crime prevention topics and public safety regulations, policies, and procedures as appropriate.
The availability of CSOs to respond to nonemergency calls supports EPD’s efforts to handle more calls for service, both emergency and non-emergency. Adding CSOs also increases the timeliness of response and provides an enhanced level of service for callers.
The Eugene Police Department CSO Program has 24 budgeted full-time equivalent positions of which 15 of those are funded by the Community Safety Payroll Tax.
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 in Springfield Municipal Jail 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
- Youth out of school prevention programs
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