OREGON — Joseph Brooks will be Oregon’s new police chief — come Monday.
Brooks, who was sworn in Tuesday, has been with the Oregon Police Department for 20 years, and has served as a K-9 handler, sergeant and, most recently, lieutenant. His appointment as chief is effective Oct. 3.
Current Chief Shawn Melville’s last day is Oct. 2. He is resigning to join the private sector after 25 years in law enforcement, most of which was spent in Oregon.
“I remember my first year I had said to Shawn that, ‘I hope someday I can be as good as you,’” Brooks said. “And Shawn smirked at me and gave me the classic, but sarcastic response of, ‘Good answer.’ Today that stands true. I hope I can be as good of a chief as Shawn was.”
Brooks’ appointment was unanimously approved by Oregon City Council members during their Sept. 27 meeting, along with an employment agreement between Brooks and the city.
According to the employment agreement, Brooks’ salary will be $96,000 annually, plus benefits.
The position is exempt from overtime, which is reflected in the salary, said City Administrator Darin DeHaan, who served as police chief before Melville.
“It [the contract] is basically status quo for our last two chiefs,” he said.
Also Tuesday, Mayor Ken Williams presented Melville with a plaque honoring his 24 years with the Oregon Police Department.
“Did you ever think you’d be all the way up to chief?” Williams asked.
“No. Never did, never wanted to be,” Melville said good naturedly.
“Well, you proved yourself to your fellow officers and the city councils that we’ve gone through the years,” Williams said. “When Darin moved over to city manager, the concern was, ‘Well gee, now we need a chief of police.’ Of course you came to mind right away, and we knew that would work well.”
The outpouring of support from Oregon’s citizens when Melville was appointed chief was “amazing,” he recalled.
“You look on Facebook, all the people [going], ‘Congratulations. Glad to have you here,’” Williams said. “So they’ll probably be a little sad that you won’t be here for very much longer, just a few more days. But we do wish you the best. We really do thank you for all the years you put in.”