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Former West Linn police officer Stephanie Herro will represent the bureau on matters related to the homeless community

COURTESY PPB - Stephanie HerroThe Portland Police Bureau has hired its first-ever Homeless Community Liaison.

Stephanie Herro will represent the bureau on matters related to the homeless community. She will also be the primary interface between the bureau and the homeless advocacy community, including social service, governmental or law enforcement agencies.

"We welcome Stephanie and are excited about moving forward with this critical component in how police respond to those who are homeless in our community," said Chief Danielle Outlaw.

The hiring was announced following the release of acity review of the bureau in that found that about half of the arrests made in 2017-18 were of people without a fixed address. The review by the City Auditor's Office supports previous reporting by The Oregonian/OregonLive, which found that one in two people arrested by the bureau in 2017 was experiencing homelessness at the time of the arrest.

Recruiting for the liaison position was underway before the review was released. Herro was hired August 15 after an eight-month hiring process.

She has extensive experience working with vulnerable populations, including adults with developmental disabilities, those experiencing mental health challenges, and older adults. She also was also a police officer in her native state of Wisconsin and, more recently, in West Linn.

Stephanie moved to Oregon in 2014 from Chicago, where she earned a Master of Arts in Gerontological Counseling and spent time working in the geriatric psychiatric field. Most recently, she was a manager for the state's Aging and People with Disabilities program in Clackamas County.

The liaison position is charged with developing an action plan for police response to the homeless community, and will collaborate with the bureau's Training Division to develop ongoing training for officers regarding contemporary best practices for communicating, policing, and providing services to the unsheltered community.

Oregon Public Broadcasting is a news partner of the Portland Tribune and contributed to this story. You can find their report on the bureau review here.

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