EUGENE, Ore. -- The Eugene Police Department unveiled their new Street Crimes Unit Wednesday as a way to focus on "prolific offenders."
“To say that I am excited about our Street Crimes Unit is an understatement,” Chief Chris Skinner said. “These are some of our most highly motivated and skilled staff, and they are passionate about this new mission. They are going to make a dynamic difference in a variety of public safety issues including on emerging crimes and neighborhood livability issues."
Skinner said the team will stay on top of robberies, burglaries, property crimes and some violent crimes.
"It gives us an opportunity to have a dedicated workforce, to have us get out and solve these problems in these neighborhoods."
Skinner said patrol is the backbone of the department, and right now, they need to make sure their staffing levels are what they need to be at in order to move officers out of patrol and onto the new team.
"Right now we're just having a tremendous amount of luck with recruitment. I've got 12 in the academy now. I'm expected to make job offers to 15 to 17 officers in April, so we're really excited about the momentum the Eugene Police Department has right now."
Community members seem to be feeling the momentum too.
"Maybe if they get people like this moving on down the road, go south or north on I-5, but if we even get on it quicker, maybe we'll stifle it quicker," Eugene resident Norm Chapman said.
"I think it'll clean up the downtown area which is important, so people can come shop again here," Eugene resident Wilfredo Caceres said.
Skinner said the funding for the new unit comes from an $8.6 million investment the city council approved last year.
The funding will last for the next year and a half.
He said the team will be made up of a sergeant and four officers and could expand to include another sergeant and four more officers.