Bolek Amity's new police chief
AMITY — As his former colleagues at the Newberg-Dundee Police Department can attest, it's not easy to keep up with Chris Bolek.
Many of them tried during his 31-year career there, which saw him rise from patrol officer to detective, patrol sargent, lieutenant and police captain before he retired in the summer of 2016.
Bolek took all of two months off before joining the Yamhill County Sherriff's Office in November of that year.
It was that drive and wide-ranging experience that Amity was looking for in its next police chief, which is why Bolek was selected to succeed retiring Chief Dan Brown in December.
"He's done it all," said Amity City Administrator Justin Hogue, who led the seven-member hiring panel. "That's really what we were needing in Amity, someone with that experience."
The panel had three applicants and chose Bolek over current Amity Sgt. James Clark, who was second in command to Brown, and one candidate from out of state.
For a department that features just two full-time officers -- the chief and Clark -- and five reserves, the panel believed Bolek's experience would translate well into the vast array of tasks that the chief is expected to handle.
"It's a whole different environment coming from a larger city to a smaller one where you have the public coming into your office constantly and you're having to resolve all these issues," Hogue said. "That's one of the things we're excited about. He's got the skills to take us where we would like to go."
Hogue said glowing reviews from his peers were another big reason why Bolek is the right fit for Amity.
"Everyone that I've met since we hired him, I can't tell you how many people just said how amazing he is, he's a rock star or they're happy for us that we were able to recruit him," Hogue said. "There's no one that has anything negative to say."
NDPD Capt. Jeff Kosmicki worked together with Bolek for 20 years in Newberg, including closely as they were promoted up the ranks of the department over the final decade. He was effusive in his praise for Bolek, also noting his integrity, work ethic and ability to teach others.
"He's one of those guys when a new officer comes on board, a lot of us modeled ourselves after him or tried," Kosmicki said." He's got that big of an impact on the folks he works with. I don't know where I would be without being able to work with him personally. I feel like he mentored every single one of us. Whether he knew it or not, that's what he was doing."
Kosmicki also noted that for how capable and skilled Bolek is, he's equally humble and is therefore a great fit for a small, tight-knit community like Amity.
The Amity City Council has tasked Bolek with increasing the department's visibility in the community, improving its communications and continuing to boost professionalism.
"The city manager, Justin Hogue, has been very good to work with and all of my contacts with the mayor and the council members have also been very positive," Bolek said. "That transition is going well. I'm just trying to identify areas where maybe we can make some changes consistent with the council's goals. The budget is very tight here, so we've got to make the best of what we've got and I'm just trying to figure out ways to do that."
Bolek said his experience working for the sherriff's office, where he worked in court security, helped widen his perspective beyond Newberg to the rest of Yamhill County and served as a good segue to the position in Amity.
And while he certainly misses working in Newberg, mostly his colleagues and regular contacts in the community, he envisions finishing his law enforcement career in Amity.
"I don't foresee me going and doing anything different after I'm done with this," Bolek. said.
True to the form that made him so respected in Newberg, Bolek took a little more than a week off before starting his new job last week.
"He's like the Energizer Bunny, he just doesn't stop going and going," Kosmicki said. "He's probably one of the hardest working people that I know."