New Hubbard police chief aims to move department forward
The city of Hubbard will swear in its new police chief, Dave Rash, at its city council meeting on Dec. 12. The meeting will be held at 7 p.m. at the Hubbard Fire Station at 3161 Second St.
The city hired Rash to fill the vacancy left by former chief Dave Dryden, who retired last October.
Rash comes off a nearly 26-year career at the Milwaukie Police Department, where he worked in roles including patrol officer, school resource officer, sergeant and detective before becoming a captain in 2009.
Rash decided to apply for the job in Hubbard because he wanted to go to the next level in his career.
"It was time to move on," he said. "The chief there's two years younger than me and he wasn't going anywhere. I'd done just about everything I could do in Milwaukie, other than being a K-9 handler."
A resident of Gladstone, Rash said he and his wife hope to move to Hubbard in six months to a year.
"My wife's always wanted to get into the country," Rash said.
Rash, who grew up in the Parkrose neighborhood in Portland, aspired to be in law enforcement when he was young.
"It was always something I was attracted to," Rash said. "When we'd play cops and robbers, I could never play a robber."
Rash joined the Gresham Police Department's reserve program when he turned 21, working two minimum wage jobs on the side. He immediately fell in love with police work.
"I couldn't get enough of it," he said. "I couldn't wait until the next time I got out in the reserves."
After two years of working as a reserve officer, he was hired by the city of Milwaukie as a patrol officer and worked there ever since.
He said what he loves about working in law enforcement is the variety and his role in upholding the law.
"Every day is different. No two calls are the same. It's challenging every day, which is fun for me," Rash said. "And I still like catching a bad guy once in a while."
Rash said the Hubbard department will be pretty different from Milwaukie's. For one, it's much smaller.
"I come from a 38-man department. (Hubbard is) a five-officer department now," Rash said.
In addition, Hubbard's city government has a different structure from Milwaukie's. Unlike Milwaukie, the city of Hubbard has few staff members and no city manager, meaning the police department reports to the city council.
His first priority as chief will be filling the department's vacancies. Currently, the department has only two full-time officers. The city is currently processing job applications for the two additional officer positions that the department has budgeted.
"My biggest priority is getting those two positions filled and up to speed," Rash said.
Filling those positions will leave just one vacancy in the department: an administrative assistant, a position included in the 2017-18 budget.
Rash said he'll also be focused on learning law enforcement in Marion County and Hubbard. Since he comes from a law enforcement agency in Clackamas County, he said it will be important to get to know the sheriff and district attorney in Marion County.
In addition, he'll be focused on building networks with neighboring law enforcement agencies.
"You have to have those networks, especially in the smaller agencies. You don't have all the resources if a major crime hits. Or not even a major crime, a major traffic crash," Rash said. "You have to have a good network and communication lines."
Rash also wants to eventually get the Hubbard Police Department accredited by the Oregon Accreditation Alliance, which Rash said will provide greater credibility to the department by meeting certain standards. Those standards include ensuring the department has proper documentation regarding its Miranda rights and search and seizure practices, and making sure officers keep an inventory of weapons and ammunition.
Milwaukie received similar accreditation under Rash's leadership, and he sees it as a valuable goal for Hubbard.
And, he wants to get to know the Hubbard community and its residents. He's a supporter of community policing, and wants to ensure the Hubbard department follows that law enforcement model.
"Especially when you don't have 24-hour coverage, you have to rely on the people to be your eyes and ears out there," Rash said. "And the way you do that is keeping trust in the community and having those partnerships."
Rash said he's aware that the police department has become a hot-button topic in the city.
In April 2017, the city council considered contracting all of the city's policing services with the Marion County Sheriff's Office, which would have effectively shut down the Hubbard Police Department. The consideration was met with uproar from citizens, and led to a recall campaign against then-Mayor Thia Estes and then-city councilor Bradley Williams.
Rash said he'll be focusing on moving the department forward and on convincing doubtful residents that he thinks keeping the Hubbard Police Department was the right move.
"I realize that things may come up during my tenure as chief here, but I plan on being as transparent as I can," Rash said. "I plan on being transparent and working with the city council because they should be giving direction on what they want out of the police department."