Oregon Police Chief Richard Stager will be retiring at the start of next year, according to Mayor Mike Seferian. Stager became chief in 2008, replacing former Chief Tom Gulch, who resigned in 2007.
“At first, we thought he was looking at June, but I think it’s some time in January or February,” said Seferian.
Stager was acting chief when Gulch stepped down, then was appointed to the position permanently in 2008.
Seferian said he and Administrator Mike Beasley will be seeking a replacement soon.
“As soon as we get some other issues out of the way, we’ll start to figure out the process. Of course, we’ll share what we’re doing with council. I want them to be a part of it.”
Picking a police chief, said Seferian, “is never an easy thing.”
When former Fire Chief Bill Wilkins resigned last year, Seferian said it was not difficult finding a replacement because he knew the fire department well. Seferian appointed veteran Oregon fire fighter Ed Ellis, formerly an assistant district chief, for the post last May.
“I thought we could come up with some personnel in our department to become fire chief. I always knew we could work something out. I knew enough about the personnel, and going through and talking with them. I was very confident I could come up with a good solution. I believe it will take a lot more work to have that same comfort level in the selection of a police chief.”
“I don’t favor anyone in particular right now,” he said.
Does he lean toward finding someone from within the department?
“I’m not so sure,” he said. “You always hope you can structure all your departments so that, with training and experience, you set yourself up with candidates to fill your upper level management positions. And that worked out for us in the fire department. We have to reach in and take a closer look at our command officers, see what we got. A lot of our experienced command officers, with 25-30 years behind them, will be retiring.”