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Lt. Bob Ray brings nearly 23 years of law enforcement experience to his new role.

COURTESY PHOTO: WASHINGTON COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE - Lt. Bob Ray, the new chief of police for Cornelius.Cornelius has a new chief of police.

In partnership with the Washington County Sheriff's Office, the Cornelius City Council on Jan. 4 named Lt. Bob Ray as chief of police.

Ray takes over for former Chief John Bennett, who has been promoted to commander of the services division at the Sheriff's Office, the Sheriff's Office said in a statement Jan. 11.

Cornelius has contracted with the Sheriff's Office for policing services since 2014, when the City Council voted to dissolve the Cornelius Police Department. That decision came after persistent complaints and allegations of corruption and bad behavior.

Ray has nearly 23 years of experience in law enforcement, serving most of that time in leadership positions, the Sheriff's Office said.

"In addition to his many years as a patrol sergeant, Chief Ray was the public information officer for the Washington County Sheriff's Office from 2012 through 2017," the Sheriff's Office said. "Recently promoted to the rank of lieutenant, Chief Ray supervised three of our municipal partners in Washington County."

In a statement, Cornelius City Manager Rob Drake said, "The City of Cornelius is pleased to have Bob Ray serve as our new police chief. He brings a broad depth of experience to the position, has supervised the other contract cities of Banks, Gaston and North Plains, and has a positive and approachable style to serving the public. Chief Ray is serving on the Sheriff's Office diversity, equity and inclusion team and is very supportive of bringing his cultural outreach efforts and sensitivity to his work in Cornelius."

Cornelius is one of the most diverse cities in Oregon, with more than half of its 12,000 residents identifying as Hispanic or Latino.

The Sheriff's Office maintains 13 employees in Cornelius, patrolling an area of 2.2 square miles.

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