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Portland police, school district in talks to reintroduce school resource officers

By Drew Marine

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    PORTLAND, Oregon (KPTV) — After three shootings outside of high schools in the last month, Portland police said they’re talking with Portland Public Schools about reintroducing school resource officers to keep students safe while they’re in the classroom.

At a news conference with city leaders Wednesday, Chief Chuck Lovell said student safety is very important to him as a former SRO himself.

The latest shooting happened on Monday afternoon outside of Cleveland High School, which went into lockdown.

“The second after it ended and we knew we were safe, we all started to cry because we were terrified,” said freshman Sierra Lamberth.

Lamberth said she was in class when she heard gunshots outside their window and took cover with her classmates.

“I was hiding in a chimney. I pushed myself into the nook at the back of the classroom and I was holding hands with someone I didn’t know, and we were both shaking uncontrollably,” she said.

The suspect didn’t make their way into any buildings, but Portland police said a 16-year-old was shot just outside of the school. Thankfully, they’re expected to be okay.

This is the third shooting outside of a Portland high school in the last month. The other two shootings happened near Jefferson High School in North Portland.

Now, these shootings are reigniting conversations about school resource officers and whether they should be back on campus after they were pulled from Portland Public Schools in 2020.

In Wednesday’s press conference, Lovell said the bureau is in early discussions with the district about reintroducing them to PPS campuses even if they’re understaffed.

“It’s one of those things that you have to find a way. I can stand up here and say hey we can’t keep our kids safe because we don’t have this or that,” Lovell said. “It’s too important to go undone.”

While some parents and students don’t think everyone will feel safe with a police presence on campus, Lamberth said she’d feel much more comfortable going to school.

“I have really bad anxiety and the thought of this happening is just one of my worst fears. It would make me feel so much safer if there was, you know, police officers here just like being here to protect us,” Lamberth said.

FOX 12 reached out to Portland Public Schools about their conversations with Portland police about school resource officers. They sent a statement:

“PPS looks forward to continued discussions with the Portland Police Bureau. We are committed to keeping our schools safe, while working collaboratively with our students and members of our community to find a solution to the senseless gun violence.”

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