Oregon City Police Department this year honored its top officers with recognition for their recent special achievements.
In being named Officer of the Year, Jason Pohl was recognized for his drive to create a Special Investigations Team (SIT) specializing in street-level narcotics investigations. Since the SIT's creation a little over a year ago, Pohl led the majority of the police department's narcotics stings resulting in arresting 18 people and seizing considerable quantities of drugs. Just this month, Pohl led a team that arrested three more alleged drug dealers in Oregon City.
Pohl, who is partnered with OCPD's first and only narcotics detection dog, Grendel, submitted a seven-page memo in 2019 articulating OCPD's need for the narcotics team. Pohl said he wanted to help people who have been affected by the negative impacts of drug addiction, both those suffering from addiction and individuals who are impacted by the actions of those addicted to drugs.
SIT members have conducted about 30 investigations, while Pohl mentored team members by assisting them in writing search warrants, guiding them through the process of controlled drug buys, and conducting successful "buy-bust" operations.
OCPD Capt. Shaun Davis credited Pohl as one of the team's hardest working officers who "sets the standard" for his teammates.
Pohl, an eight-year veteran of OCPD and a police officer for more than 12 years, has served as a field training officer, as an "officer in charge" when a supervisor is absent and as a member of the OCPD peer support team.
"The Special Investigations Team has been a resounding success, and Officer Pohl's vision was the contributing factor," Davis said. "Officer Pohl's passion and hard work reflect positively upon the Oregon City Police Department and the law enforcement community as a whole."
Distinguished Service Medal: Officer Danny Garrett
OCPD's Danny Garrett won the Distinguished Service Medal for his outstanding service to the community in his hard work that resulted in the arrest of a suspect at the center of a fraud ring, who is facing more than a dozen criminal charges.
"Fraud cases are often tedious and require extensive follow-up; Officer Garrett showed tenacity and determination, bringing closure to numerous victims of identity theft," Davis said.
Garrett began the investigation in October 2020, when he found an unoccupied stolen vehicle while on patrol. During an inventory of the car, he found a significant number of stolen passports, Social Security cards, checkbooks, birth certificates, and pieces of mail.
Garrett connected the stolen vehicle to a suspect in Oregon City; a search of the suspect's apartment yielded a computer and other devices being used to print fraudulent checks. He obtained a search warrant for the computer and found further evidence of identity theft and fraud.
Over the course of several weeks, Garrett conducted an extensive investigation, linking this criminal activity to burglaries that occurred in the southern portion of Clackamas County while residents were evacuated due to the 2020 wildfires. Garrett ultimately wrote 30 police reports during the course of his investigation and uncovered a fraud ring with 37 victims in Clackamas County, Salem, Gresham, West Linn, Texas and Nebraska.
Davis noted that Garrett managed this complex investigation while continuing to perform his regular duties as a patrol officer and field training officer.
"Rather than forwarding the case to detectives, he took ownership of the investigation and saw it through to the end," Davis said.
Life Saving Medal: Officer Austin Pilcher
OCPD's final award went to Officer Austin Pilcher for the extraordinary life-saving measures he took in response to finding a 2-year-old child who was not breathing and did not have a pulse on Nov. 13, 2020. Pilcher immediately started performing CPR, and the child began breathing before paramedics arrived and began to treat the patient.
Pilcher made several observations on scene that led him to believe that the child may have accidentally consumed a medication containing opiates. He relayed this information to medical personnel, who used Narcan to completely resuscitate the child.
"Officer Pilcher's quick actions and astute observations unquestionably saved the child's life," Davis said.
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