PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Saying “the time is now,” Portland Public Schools severed their ties with the Portland Police Bureau for school resource officers, a move supported by Mayor Ted Wheeler.
After taking a closer look at their relationship with PPB in wake of the death of George Floyd and subsequent protests, Superintendent Guadalupe Guerrero made the announcement Thursday discontinuing the regular presence of School Resource Officers at schools.
“The time is now,” Guerrero said via Twitter.
The change in Portland came after the Minneapolis School Board voted to remove their SROs on Wednesday night.
This move to remove the 11 armed officers from schools was long demanded by many in the Portland community. Guerrero said he wants to invest instead in more social workers and counselors.
Wheeleer announced he will direct $1 million a year from the PPB budget to a program the community will design to support and nurture black children.
“I’ve previously supported this program based on the increasing training they’ve received over the years on restorative justice and cultural competency and the new emphasis on mentoring rather than enforcement, ” Wheeler said at an afternoon press conference. “But this, right now, is about the community telling us what they need.”
The SROs will now work elsewhere in PPB operations. There are 9 armed police officers in Portland high schools and 2 more who patrol at David Douglas and Centennial High School. David Douglas siad they would remove its officer.
On Wednesday, Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty renewed her call to get rid of the SROs. She and other critics say their presence creates a hostile culture and students of color are targeted.
According to a city website before the announcement, School Resource Officers ensured safety around schools.
“School Resource Officers are Portland Police Bureau officers working to ensure safety around schools in the Portland area. They patrol nearby neighborhoods during school hours, police traffic around campus, and assist with bullying issues at school.”