Former Vancouver officer put colleagues on edge, broke handcuffing policy

By Troy Brynelson (OPB)
Aug. 21, 2023 1 p.m.

Vancouver Police Officer Rey Reynolds became the subject of four internal investigations last fall.

On what was ostensibly the last day of his law enforcement career, Rey Reynolds started his shift by upsetting deputies at the Clark County Jail during an inmate hand-off.

Then, hours later, Reynolds capped the December shift by arguing with colleagues and “slamming” his baton, causing two fellow officers to consider “placing hands” on him to subdue him.


That’s according to new records, obtained by OPB through public records law, that shed light on how Reynolds, a then-police officer and a prominent political hopeful, landed on administrative leave for the rest of his Vancouver Police Department tenure.

The dual events each landed Reynolds under investigation. They were the third and fourth investigations the agency opened into him in a three-month span. The next day, Dec. 21, the department put him on leave.

The four investigations remained open until Reynolds retired on June 29.

While on leave, Reynolds collected a monthly paycheck of $11,237.94, according to city officials. His final paycheck also included 201 hours of vacation pay worth another $11,296.97 and nearly 50 hours of comp time for $3,142.32

The former corporal did not respond to multiple requests for comment. However, he has publicly dismissed reporting on the investigations as “slander,” according to a media report on his retirement party.

A Vancouver police car is pictured March 14, 2019, in Vancouver, Wash.

FILE: A Vancouver police car is pictured March 14, 2019, in Vancouver, Wash.

Bryan M. Vance / OPB

Reynolds was a corporal who spent more than two decades with Vancouver police. He was also recently a candidate for Washington state Senate and, last fall, a candidate for Clark County sheriff. He fell short in both bids.

It was the most recent campaign, however, that coincided with Reynolds’ last days as an officer.

On Sept. 24, weeks before Election Day, Reynolds appeared on a Christian political show called “Cross Politic.” A host asked Reynolds what laws exist in the state to “regulate the current trans push.” The host also referenced drag queen story hours, which are events featuring drag queens reading books to children.

Reynolds answered the question by saying “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.”

“We need to get back to where we used to arrest people for running around naked and doing sexual acts,” Reynolds continued. “Now, we have parades where they’re allowed to do it. And they’re not being arrested. They’re only being encouraged.”

The comments led community members to launch an online petition calling for his firing. More than 1,400 names signed it.


Vancouver city government’s department of diversity, equity and inclusion also received a spate of comments. At least one person who identified as transgender wrote that they felt unsafe “knowing there is an officer in my city that believes it is his right, and desire, to arrest me simply for who I am.”

Reynolds had contended he made the comments as a private citizen. Still, the department opened two investigations and later found he violated multiple departmental policies.

By December, investigators noted in the records, Reynolds reported feeling stressed by the open investigations.

On the morning of Dec. 20, Reynolds reportedly picked up a man in downtown Vancouver who had been wanted on a felony warrant. However, Reynolds did not place the man in handcuffs nor search his pockets or backpack, investigators said.

When Reynolds arrived at the Clark County Jail, corrections deputies told investigators, they were “shocked” the person under arrest was freely seated in the backseat wearing a backpack and carrying a methamphetamine pipe in his front pocket.

Corrections deputies took the man into custody without incident, but Commander Ken Clark almost immediately put Vancouver police on notice with a phone call. He followed up with an email.

“This could have gone badly in several different ways,” Clark wrote to Vancouver Lt. Blaise Geddry. He noted concerns that the person could have had access to weapons or other dangerous objects without jail staff’s knowledge.

By this point, according to the records, Reynolds had already filed his reports on the matter. However, when police officials started asking questions about what happened at the jail, Reynolds withdrew his report and rewrote it.

In his updated statement, records show, Reynolds noted that he “visually frisked” the man and “at no time did (he) make any furtive movements indicating he may be armed.” Reynolds also discussed with investigators that the man needed the help of a walker.

Investigators noted the man was a convicted felon and sex offender whose records labeled him as a “high” risk to reoffend using violence.

Reynolds also wrote that he told the jail prior to his arrival that the man was not handcuffed. However, Clark told investigators that that was not the case.

The same afternoon, records show, Reynolds then tried to attend a rifle training course. Reynolds told investigators that he believed his sergeant signed him up for that day, but the class trainers said he was scheduled for the next day.

When trainers told Reynolds he couldn’t take the course that day, he reportedly became upset. Two officers reported that Reynolds “slammed” his baton onto a desk, cussed and shouted.

“Both (officers) were considering, without speaking to each other, the possibility of having to place hands on Rey to remove his rifle and otherwise subdue him if he did not calm himself,” investigators wrote.

Reynolds disputed the events with investigators. In interviews, he said he didn’t slam his baton and only said the word “bullshit” at one point.

According to the investigative file, Reynolds apologized to the other officers before leaving the room. Reynolds reportedly commented “he was probably going to have another IA” after the incident.

For the Dec. 20 incidents, investigators found Reynolds also violated multiple policies. The report said he broke department rules around using handcuffs, failing to search a person in custody and professional conduct.


Related Stories