Armed Private Security Fills Police Vacancy After Budget Cuts In Portland

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Melanie Wilcox Contributor
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Businesses have hired armed guards in downtown Portland after a series of riots and shootouts over the summer, Willamette Week reported.

Jean-Pierre LaFont, 45, is a former Navy SEAL who patrols Portland’s Old Town neighborhood while wearing a bulletproof vest and carrying an AR-15, Willamette Week reported.

“My job is to get you home safe,” LaFont, who works for Ravencrest Force Protection Group, told Willamette Weekly. “Unless you’re the perpetrator. The only way for evil to succeed is for good men to do nothing. So I’m going to do something.” (RELATED: Far Left Militants In Portland Start Fires, Vandalize Buildings And Toss Unknown Liquids)

“This once was a great city,” he told Willamette Weekly. “This is a great city. It’s the best. We just forgot.”

After a gunman opened fire at Shake Bar and killed an 18-year-old woman and wounded six others on July 17, the owner of Shake Bar hired Ravencrest to secure the bar and the length of Couch Street between 3rd and 4th Avenues. He patrols the street every Friday and Saturday night.

“I’d rather die with my boots on,” LaFont told Willamette Weekly, “than die in an old folks’ home hearing Christmas carols sung by Boy Scouts.”

Ravencrest is one of three private companies that has armed guards patrolling Old Town to keep parties from turning into riots and shootouts, Willamette Weekly reported.

“There aren’t enough police officers,” Jessie Burke, co-owner of the Society Hotel and president of the Old Town Chinatown Community Association, told Willamette Weekly “We’re having to do what the government used to do. We’re kind of running an underground government to keep things safe.”

The Portland Police Bureau dissolved its nightlife unit last July due to budget cuts. Their department was cut by $16 million last year, Fox News reported. Police Bureau spokesman Lt. Greg Pashley told Willamette Weekly only two police officers are assigned to Old Town’s nightlife scene.