New Multnomah County sheriff sworn in, the first woman in the job

By OPB Staff (OPB)
Jan. 4, 2023 11:45 p.m.

Nicole Morrisey O’Donnell has already spent 26 years with the sheriff’s office, moving from deputy to lieutenant, captain, chief deputy and undersheriff.

Nicole Morrisey O’Donnell became the 41st sheriff of Multnomah County on Wednesday. She is the first woman to serve in the role.

Nicole Morrisey O’Donnell is sworn in during a ceremony held at the Multnomah Building in Southeast Portland, Jan. 4, 2023. Sheriff Morrisey O’Donnell is the first woman to serve as sheriff in the agency’s nearly 170 years of operation.

Nicole Morrisey O’Donnell is sworn in during a ceremony held at the Multnomah Building in Southeast Portland, Jan. 4, 2023. Sheriff Morrisey O’Donnell is the first woman to serve as sheriff in the agency’s nearly 170 years of operation.

Courtesy of Multnomah County Sheriff's Office

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Morrisey O’Donnell has spent 26 years with the sheriff’s office. During her swearing-in ceremony, she said she’s spent those years improving public trust and building bridges among community partners.

“And a commitment that I make today is to be a leader who helps our agency break barriers and open doors,” Morrisey O’Donnell said.

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Morrisey O’Donnell has moved from deputy to lieutenant, captain, chief deputy and undersheriff during her career with the county. She is only the second Multnomah County sheriff to hold dual certifications in both corrections and policing. And she now leads the largest sheriff’s office in Oregon, which has a total of about 750 employees. She won election in November.

She said preventing violence in all forms is at the top of her priority list.

Retired Multnomah County sheriff’s deputy Bob O’Donnell, right, pins the badge on his wife, Nicole Morrisey O’Donnell. Morrisey O’Donnell spent 26 years with the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office before being elected to the top job. At her swearing-in ceremony she said she’s focused on improving public trust and building bridges among community partners.

Retired Multnomah County sheriff’s deputy Bob O’Donnell, right, pins the badge on his wife, Nicole Morrisey O’Donnell. Morrisey O’Donnell spent 26 years with the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office before being elected to the top job. At her swearing-in ceremony she said she’s focused on improving public trust and building bridges among community partners.

Courtesy of Multnomah County Sheriff's Office

“I will be a leader in developing collaborative strategies to break the cycle of violence, advocate for the voices of victims and survivors, and hold accountable those who do harm in our community,” she said.

Oregon Supreme Court Justice Adrienne Nelson administered the oath of office. Nelson has been nominated to be a federal judge. If confirmed by the U.S. Senate, she would become the first Black woman jurist in Oregon to sit on the federal bench.


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