Oregon Police Chief Richard Stager bid city officials goodbye at a council meeting on Jan. 24.
“I’m going to make the most out of retirement,” said Stager.
“Since I took the job, I probably have more passion for the Oregon Police Department than ever before. It’s kind of tough walking away. But I think I’ll manage somehow,” Stager joked. “I’m leaving Friday for Florida for my condo, and hopefully on Monday I’m playing in a softball game. I’ll be thinking about the officers and praying for their safety.”
Stager expressed concerns about the recent spate of violence against police officers across the country.
“If you’ve heard in the last 30 hours, seven police officers have been shot. It just seems like I’m hearing about it all the time. Even in communities about the same size as Oregon. I have a son who is a police officer in Sylvania, so I’ll be praying for him, too. I do have some concerns. Times have changed somewhat. There seems to be more violence toward police officers. Hopefully, that will stop in the immediate future when the economy gets better.”
“Don’t be a stranger,” Council President Clint Wasserman said to Stager. “You’ll always have a home in Oregon. Don’t forget that.”
“It’s been a pleasure during the time you served as chief,” said Mayor Mike Seferian. “I wish you the best in retirement.”
Stager started as a patrolman in June, 1978.
Assistant Chief Paul Magditch is currently acting chief.
After the meeting, Seferian said he plans to speak with officers within the police department to determine what issues need to be addressed as part of his search for a new chief.
“We learned things when we did that in the fire department and got a better handle on what was going on there. As the fire department had issues, so are there issues in the police department that we would like more knowledge of,” said Seferian. “When the new chief comes in, he’ll know what to address.”
He expects to appoint a new chief in the next few months, he said.
“We’re not going to be in a hurry. It may be early to mid spring before we complete our process. I want to come up with the best choice and make the department as good as it can be,” he said.
Also at the meeting, council approved Seferian’s recommendation that Patrolman Jason Druckenmiller be promoted to sergeant, effective Jan. 25.
Druckenmiller will be placed at Step I in the FOP pay range for police sergeant and be paid $30.24 per hour, which corresponds to an annual salary of $62,918.44, said Seferian.
After the meeting, Seferian called Druckenmiller “a very conscientious officer.”
“He’s a good guy and a model cop,” he said.
When the city created the assistant chief position, it was decided at that time not to have two lieutenants, who are also command officers, said Seferian.
“An assistant chief is a non-bargaining, at-will employee who is at the helm when the chief is on vacation or out of town. With the way the work is distributed, there was never a need for two lieutenants,” he said.
With the recent retirement of Lt. Brian Andrzejewski, who served in the police department for 33 years, Druckenmiller was promoted to sergeant to fill the need for a command officer, said Seferian.
Administrator Mike Beazley, as safety director, will help with administrative tasks that are performed by the police chief, who is also a command officer, until the city appoints a new chief.
“He will see that there’s no absence of manpower,” said Seferian.