A recent candidate for Clark County sheriff, currently employed as a Vancouver officer, has been suspended from police work and is subject to four separate internal investigations that have been launched since September.
Cpl. Rey Reynolds has had his “police officer powers” suspended and is on administrative leave, according to a recent email circulating among employees of the Vancouver Police Department and obtained by OPB.
Reynolds, who has been a patrolman in the agency’s western precinct, has had his access to police facilities restricted. The city continues to pay him while the investigations are ongoing.
The email doesn’t explicitly say why Reynolds is suspended. Vancouver Police Department officials have not said what prompted most of the investigations.
However, at least one investigation is tied to a podcast appearance Reynolds made while campaigning to be Clark County’s top law enforcement official. On the Sept. 24 podcast, Reynolds compared drag events to criminal sexual offenses.
Vancouver Police Department spokesperson Kim Kapp said the four investigations into Reynolds began on Sept. 8, Oct. 24, and two on Dec. 20. The two December investigations stem from separate incidents, she said. None of the investigations are closed.
Reynolds was suspended Dec. 21, according to the email.
Attempts to reach Reynolds on Monday were not successful. Reynolds sought to become Clark County’s next sheriff but lost in November to John Horch, who was then serving as the sheriff office’s chief criminal deputy. Reynolds also once sought to become a state senator.
Vancouver police confirmed to OPB in October that Rey’s comments on a podcast led to an open investigation. His comments drew outrage, including a petition for his firing that has notched more than 1,400 signatures.
During the podcast, a host asked Reynolds what laws exist in the state to “regulate the current trans push” and how he would use the laws if elected sheriff. The host referenced drag queen story hours, which are events featuring drag queens reading stories to children.
“We do have those laws – exposure laws, indecent liberties, all of those things are laws that we have on the books right now that can be prosecuted. And we can arrest on those things,” Reynolds responded. “We need to get back to where we used to arrest people for running around naked and doing sexual acts. Now, we have parades where they’re allowed to do it. And they’re not being arrested. They’re only being encouraged.”
Multiple people filed complaints with the city of Vancouver after hearing the comments. In emails to the city’s department of diversity, equity and inclusion, people wrote of their disappointment and questioned whether the comments qualify as discriminatory.
One person who identified as transgender wrote that the comments made them fear for their safety.
“I feel unsafe as a transgender Vancouver Resident going outside knowing there is an officer in my city that believes it his right, and desire, to arrest me simply for who I am,” the person wrote.
Reynolds was off-duty when he made the comments. Vancouver police and other public employees can express their opinions outside of work, but the agency enforces standards of conduct for its officers outside of work.
According to Kapp, Reynolds’ suspension is tied to violating the department’s conduct policies. The policy states that the standards are expected to be met “at all times.”
One standard is respect for diversity. It calls for Vancouver police to “show respect for the diversity of our community and coworkers” and prohibits remarks that disregard a person’s “nationality, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, disability, veteran’s status, physical attributes and age.”
Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly described John Horch’s previous job title as undersheriff. He was the chief criminal deputy.