Photo contributed by Kate Lazzini
Chief Deputy Jason Gates recognizes Deputy Kate Lazzini for outreach in the Rosewood Neighborhood.
Photo contributed by Kate Lazzini
Chief Deputy Jason Gates recognizes Deputy Kate Lazzini for outreach in the Rosewood Neighborhood.
The holidays were cheerier for children in East Multnomah County’s Rosewood Neighborhood thanks to Multnomah County Sheriff’s Deputy Kate Lazzini. She goes beyond the call of duty to facilitate a positive relationship between law enforcement and community in an area facing major public safety concerns.

She worked with agencies and nonprofits to host a holiday party in the 15-block area around the intersection of 162nd and Burnside that is blighted by gangs and drug problems.

“Kids here have nowhere to go,” Lazzini said. “There aren’t many safe activities for the children, and it’s a major issue.”

After she joined the sheriff’s department in 2009, Lazzini was given the opportunity last year to provide extra patrol, in Rosewood, which straddles Gresham and East Portland. Between calls, she would stop to chat with neighborhood children.

Petite with a bright smile, 30-year-old Lazzini is approachable – an important factor when reaching out to youths who learn from their parents to fear law enforcement.

The officer’s interest in the neighborhood led to a partnership between the sheriff’s office and the Rosewood Initiative, a nonprofit with the mission of making the neighborhood a nice place to live, work and play.

As she cruised the streets, Lazzini noticed children riding bikes without helmets. When she asked about the helmets, children often said their parents couldn’t afford to buy one.

That gave Lazzini an idea.

She applied for a grant through Wal-Mart, which generated $1,500 that will be used to buy children’s bike helmets. Next, she initiated collaboration with Oregon Health and Science University to provide bicycle safety education. Lazzini then approached the Wood Village Kohls, which donated another $500.

Working with the public and nonprofit agencies connected with the Rosewood Initiative, Lazzini helped organized a holiday party in December. Kids visited Santa, tried hula hooping, and enjoyed arts and crafts. More than 150 people attended, and Lazzini’s law enforcement colleagues helped out. In uniform, they handed out goodie-filled backpacks and holiday storybooks.

This spring, the sheriff’s office and Rosewood Initiative will host a bicycle safety event, when the children will receive their helmets.

A graduate of Holy Trinity School in Beaverton, Lazzini and her family are now members of St. Thomas Aquinas Church in Camas, Wash. She is daughter of Tim and Sue Schubert, parishioners at Holy Trinity Church.

Lazzini said she has always loved working with children, but having recently become a mother herself has heightened her feelings of empathy toward the youngsters she encounters when she responds to calls.

Lazzini plans to continue to raise money, organize activities and generate support for Rosewood families. She knows her primary job is public safety, but she is continually heartened by the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office’s support of her outreach efforts.

Lazzini was recently named “Outstanding Member of the Quarter” by the sheriff’s office law enforcement division for her dedication. 

Her award reads: “Deputy Lazzini’s dedication to the youth of Rosewood has helped [the sheriff’s office] begin to positively impact the community and establish productive relationships with the neighborhood’s stakeholders.”