ALBANY, OR (KPTV) – When police officers were seen at Albany public schools Monday as students returned to classrooms, reactions were mixed, with some in the community expressing perspectives against the presence of law enforcement.

According to Greater Albany Public Schools Superintendent Melissa Goff, GAPS has a long-standing tradition of having members of the Albany Police Department and Albany Fire Department come to school campuses to greet students when they return to class.

During this week’s event, GAPS received reports from some students and families that seeing law enforcement at schools was anxiety-inducing.

“Recently, with the great news that our classrooms have reopened, we held our welcome event tradition once again.  Clearly, the intent of everyone who participated in this event was to celebrate the return to school for our kids, and to cheer them on,” Goff said in a statement released Wednesday.

Albany police

KPTV file image.

“However, there are times when our intentions don’t match up with how people perceive our actions – and especially when it comes to people in uniform, we are not always able to predict how people will feel. In this case, for some of our students and families, the presence of officers on campus created extra anxiety. After a year of being away from school, this exciting event was experienced with fear and surprise for some students, and does not reflect the trauma-informed approach we strive for in schools. Unfortunately, this turned what should have been a positive and exciting start into something different for these children, and that is not what we want for our students,” she continued.

Read Goff’s full statement here.

In response to the calls of concern, Goff announced that GAPS “pushed pause on having police officers greet our students on their first day of school so that all students could feel welcome on this important day.”

She emphasized that the relationship between GAPS and APD remains positive.

APD Chief Marcia Harnden posted a statement on Facebook late Wednesday night to address the situation.

Harnden stated the concerns about officers at schools were reported by “students and families of color.”

“Our intent was to welcome you back and give you a reason to feel safe and welcome.  I'm sorry if the experience was negative.   I personally enjoyed the high fives I received and the stickers that I gave out.  We hope there can be a time that there is no fear when the police are present and we continue to work towards that goal.  I appreciate the community members who reached to share your concerns.  We hear you,” wrote Harnden.

She said APD was “saddened and disappointed” when officers were asked to leave school campuses on Monday and said she did not jointly decide on that action in Goff’s request.

Read Harnden’s full Facebook post here.

A rally is scheduled Friday afternoon in support of APD and AFP, according to a Facebook event page.

Copyright 2021 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved. 


Recommended for you

(16) comments


I love how fake news 12 allows left-wingers to name-call and say derogatory things, but if you are conservative, you get deleted. Nice.

Woke Eyesaidsir

Such stoopid paretns and kids that HATE police. THis hatred == BLaMe(BLM) is equivalent to screaming racism. Next time there is a criminal act at the school please call: Ted WHeeler, Kate 'Catastophe" Brown, J. Hardest aka THe Rastafarrian or any of the other stoopid city commissioners for protection, safety !

Worst PDX Mayor Ever

If I were the police and fire dept personnel, I wouldn't have left. I would have continued what I was doing, and not cower to the whines of the radical left.


Parents teaching their children to fear the police? That is child abuse. It is the socialist school district that are the ones to fear... The future is looking grim

Lexx Luthor

Pathetic.... really pathetic. What kind of parent wants their children to disrespect police and their police protection in this manner. Park Rngers on school grounds anyone? NEXT: lLet's see Fake News interview a Park Ranger, later down the line, from their hospital bed!


I imagine if you come from a multi-generational crime family, seeing the PoPo would be anxiety-inducing.


SO the wishes of the other kids and families to HAVE police there counts for nothing?

Lexx Luthor

"people of colore" This sounds to me like the TRUTH....and some BLM added. Having the Fire and Police present might just make the next little jerk leaves drugs or Daddy's stolen shotgun at home MAYBE even be detected and reported to an on site policeman. You know a Schhool Safety Officer. (Q.) Does any adult, black or white, really think that the wschool or kids are going to protect them if there is a oh say, GANG problem, drug OD. What lousy parents these complaber are. Parents should screen their kids from associating with the kids of complaiers too.... no real need to TRAIN or to ENCOURAGE hatred of police !


Absolutely ridiculous.

Worst PDX Mayor Ever

There's a lot to unpack here. First off, is there anything wrong with having a friends show of community spirit by police and fire personnel, many of whom likely have kids who go to school there? No..absolutely not. It seems to be a pleasant and completely non-intrusive situation.

But leave it to any leftie parents that will try to bash a tradition, especially if it tends to be in the vein of white americana. Was anyone truly harmed? No. Was anyone really uncomfortable or unnerved? No. Are those who complained typical bitter liberals who are just out to ruin other people's good times. Yes, that's exactly what this is.

Next; That the police chief actually said out loud who the majority of complainers are, and that she verbalized that it's mainly "people of color," is just mind numbing. I'd be surprised if she isn't seriously reprimanded or even loses her job over that. She will be called out for race baiting, and setting the community against the parents of the kids who complained, by even mentioning the race of those who complained. I can't believe she was naive and just plain ignorant enough to do that.


It's better to have police greeting the students instead of teachers. They are there to protect the kids not brainwash them like teachers are doing. If the parents don't like it, then pull your wimpy kids out of school and leave the country. You won't be missed.


The police do not exist to protect people. This has been explicitly stated in numerous court rulings in cases brought against the police for their failure to protect citizens. You're ignorant and you NEVER know what you're talking about so just shut up you moron.


What are these families hiding?

Erik Erlow Eeckhart

They are being taught the police are the enemy. This is insane.

Son of Fukov

Exactly right. Instead of addressing whatever perceptions some (probably very few) students expressed (anxiety, whatever) the school administration ask the police to leave. Instead of seizing an opportunity to build relationship and trust they reinforce the narrative the left is pushing that all police are bad. Same on you Goff!


I remember building a relationship with a lot of officers at my middle and high schools as a kid. Officers are people, too, and just as POC don’t want others to group them together, why should you group all cops together? They’re individuals. Get to know them. Maybe they’ll surprise you. Or, you can be closed-minded (like you supposedly say you aren’t, leftists) and push them away; say they’re your enemy, when they aren’t.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.