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Sheriff's Office, district will share costs of providing four resource officers through 2025.

The Multnomah County Board of Commissioners approved an agreement with the Reynolds School District on Thursday, Sept. 8, to provide four school resource officers at various Reynolds schools.

The agreement would begin this month and last through 2025. The Reynolds School District will pay the officers' salaries while school is in session. The Sheriff's Office will pay their salaries during summer break.

"With this updated intergovernmental agreement, the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office and Reynold's School District have the opportunity to continue partnerships with shared values," said Sheriff-elect Nicole Morrisey O'Donnell.

For years, the Sheriff's Office had as many as four officers assigned to three Reynolds School District schools: Reynolds High School, Walt Morey Middle School and Reynolds Middle School.

The program was put on hold, alongside in-person learning, during the COVID-19 pandemic. Last year, the return of in-person learning launched conversations with students, family, faculty and community along with internal discussion with county leaders and agency partners.

At the meeting, Reynolds School District Deputy Superintendent Christopher Ortiz shared the results of two community surveys with students, parents and staff on the return of school resource officers to the Reynold's School Districts.

According to the surveys the district found that 79% of those surveyed supported school resource officers in schools.

Ortiz also shared that other focus groups provided additional comments, including suggestions for training, trauma-informed care, counseling, de-escalation, anti-racist, anti-bias and culturally informed practices, among other trainings, before bringing in school resource officers.

"A lot of people have different opinions about the course of action," Commissioner Lori Stegmann said. "But this is what the community has responded with about their desires. I appreciate this work to serve our community."

The Sheriff's Office and Reynolds School District's renewed partnership would include training on diversity, equity and inclusion, scheduled either through the district or the Sheriff's Office's equity and inclusion unit.

The selection process for school resource officers would include reviewing an applicant's preferred skills and any related characteristics, such as whether they would consider themselves open to conversations on the impact of policing on BIPOC communities.

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