Hermiston Police Search for Answers to Recent Increase in Shootings

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With an increase of reported shootings in the Hermiston area in 2023, Hermiston Police Department officials said they are seeking help to address the issue.

While the HPD doesn’t have exact numbers, Chief Jason Edmiston has confirmed an increase of shootings, estimating around a dozen occurrences this year.

“What we know is we are dealing with a relatively small number of individuals choosing to engage in reckless criminal acts involving guns,” Edmiston said.

He said the majority of shootings have taken place in residential areas, typically involving males ages 15-25.

“We have had car-versus-car, such as the incident where the juvenile female was struck with a round, but the majority are at or near the homes of offenders,” said Edmiston.

The car-versus-cars incident took place Oct. 7 in which four minors were involved in a shooting that resulted in a 17-year-old female being transported to Portland via Life Flight due to a bullet wound in the cheek area.

Although several shootings have resulted in people being hospitalized, Edmiston said none have resulted in any deaths.

The issue is not isolated to Hermiston either, he added, noting his officers have assisted other law enforcement agencies outside the HPD service area with shootings.

To further support and encourage communication between area law enforcement agencies regarding the matter, HPD Lt. Robert Guerrero hosted an intelligence meeting Oct. 11.

“Lt. Guerrero and others discussed commonalities and the need for collection of evidence to be submitted to the crime lab for analysis,” Edmiston said. “Because most of the people involved in these shootings do not cooperate with officers, we are going to rely on evidence to link things together.”

The drawback to this, he said, is it will take time due to the Oregon State Police crime lab prioritizing its workload.

Also posing major obstacles, Edmiston said, are understaffing and a need for assistance, which has resulted in the HPD seeing a 20% decrease in personnel. Since summer of 2020, law enforcement on a national level have seen people leave the profession, including HPD losing five of its staff members, he said.

1 COMMENT

  1. Our local chief of police should get himself on the agenda for the next Hermiston Hispanic Advisory Committee. Perhaps this group can come up with ideas and start a conversation on how we can get our Latino population engaged and be part of positive solution.

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