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New officer added to fill gap in city policing

by: OUTLOOK PHOTO: CARI HACHMANN - New Fairview officer Scott Shropshire poses in front of a flashy patrol cruiser.The newest addition of the Fairview Police Department was officially sworn in Wednesday evening during the City Council meeting.

Scott Shropshire — or “Shrop,” as he is referred to around the station — makes 15 officers serving Fairview.

Three years ago, Fairview police chief Ken Johnson presented to the City Council Budget Committee the need to add a 15th officer to meet the department’s goal of having two officers on duty 24-7.

“I have been telling council for years that we are understaffed,” Johnson said. “We need two officers on duty 24-hours a day, seven days a week.”

Council adopted the goal. Funding for an additional officer was included in council’s 2013 fiscal budget.

Johnson said the need for more men and women in uniform is based on officer and citizen safety and the continued increase of the department’s call volume.

“Calls go up every year,” Johnson said, as do the complexity and high risk of calls.

Dispatchers classify calls as requiring the response of one or two officers.

“Far too often calls were coming in that required a two-officer response and we only had one officer on duty,” Johnson said.

For example, he said, if a Fairview officer is called out to Chinook Landing, gets into trouble and calls for help, there is not always another officer readily available.

And Fairview can’t count on other agencies to respond either, he said.

“We have to provide Fairview police officers to respond to Fairview citizens,” Johnson said.

The Fairview Police Department is a state accredited, national award-winning police agency that utilizes community policing and problem solving as the foundation of its values and mission, according to the city’s website.

Staff consists of one chief, three sergeants, one detective, 10 patrol officers (including a school officer and a gang enforcement officer). The department also has one full-time records specialist, two part-time administrative assistants, volunteer police reserve officers and a volunteer police chaplain.

All police officers are paid from the city’s general fund.

Born and raised in Gresham, Shropshire graduated from Gresham High School in 2007. He was recruited to play soccer at Warner Pacific College and Concordia University on scholarship, but the summer before his senior year, he dislocated his hip and broke his femoral head — the highest part of the thigh bone — while playing soccer.

Florida College, a small christian school near Tampa, Fla., was the only school to overlook his injury, so Shropshire went there. He met his wife to-be and after graduating, the two moved back to Gresham to look for jobs. They married in Florida on a hot and muggy mid-July day in 2010.

Shropshire is the second oldest among four children in his family. His siblings are all sisters. His mother is from Washington, but has lived in Oregon most of her life, and his father is an Oregon native.

Shropshire said he has known he wanted to be in law enforcement since he first learned what a job was.

Shropshire’s father is a retired Portland Police officer of 30 years.

“I wanted to follow in his footsteps,” he said.

Out of college and back in Gresham, Shropshire, then 21, applied anywhere and everywhere for a policing position. Fairview was the first place to accept his application. They hired him on as reserve. After investing two years, Shropshire said, “I realized this was the police department I wanted to work worth — a lot of good people and a good city to work for. Once the position opened up, I knew I wanted to pursue my career here.”

Three weeks into his career, Shropshire is responding to calls from one extreme to another from cold car prowls to a potential explosive device that required he call the bomb squad.

“I love it. It’s what I always wanted to do,” he said. “There is always something new and something to learn.”

In his free time, Shropshire likes to spend time with his wife and take their two miniature schnauzers to the dog park. “We like to be outside as much as possible — hiking, camping, hunting,” he said.

Johnson said Shropshire’s position “has made our community safer,” but he said the department still needs one more officer.

“This gets us closer, but not quite there,” he added.

He is working with Fairview’s public safety advisory council to locate funding options for a 16th officer and to sustain Shropshire’s position.

“If we are going to find money for cops, we have to find other revenues that would feed into the general fund,” Johnson said.

Options he mentioned would affect the public, such as a levy or adding public safety to Fairview resident utility bills.

The Fairview Police Department pulled Shropshire from its reserve officers. Tried, true and tested already, Johnson said, “We saw great things with him. We were pleased when an opening took place that we were able to hire him full time.”

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