King City restructures police department
The King City Police Department has undergone a major restructuring, adding a lieutenant position and paving the way for another officer to come on board to give the city 24/7 police coverage, according to City Manager Mike Weston and police Chief Chuck Fessler.
As the first step, Mayor Ken Gibson swore in Sgt. Ernie Happala as a lieutenant, followed by the swearing in of Officer Brian Sigler as a sergeant, at the Oct. 4 King City City Council meeting.
"These two have been here over 10 years, and Brian is our senior police officer," said Fessler, who has been on the job for 14 years. "They understand what the residents need in terms of law enforcement and safety."
Sigler said, "I love being here and working with these guys. I love what we do and hope to help bring King City into the future."
Gibson added, "What a wonderful team we have."
Fessler later told the Regal Courier, "This is the first time that we had two promotions at the same time and the first time we have a lieutenant position. We have had a sergeant's position for the past couple of years."
According to Fessler, the current positions were the result of an internal restructuring in the police department.
King City City Manager Mike Weston explained that "the City Council and I felt it best to have a hierarchical command structure in the event of the chief's retirement in the next year or two. Additionally, Lt. Happala completed his management training over the last year in preparation of taking on a larger role in the organization.
"The elements of the rolls we were asking Lt. Happala to fill as a sergeant began to be more appropriate to those of a lieutenant or assistant chief role," he added. "So we felt it appropriate to elevate his position and title so that he could be involved at a more regional level at the command meetings and other events throughout the region."
According to Weston, Happala will be expected to take on a greater responsibility with community involvement and organization as well as management functions of the police force.
"In addition to Lt. Happala, Officer Sigler was selected for the sergeants' academy last year around the time Ernie was completing his management training," Weston said. "Over the past year, Officer Sigler has stepped up and trained all the new hires, Pat (Dean), Shelby (Thatcher) and Jon (Kazmierski). He has demonstrated phenomenal leadership qualities and continues to be a resource to the newer officers.
"His demonstrated leadership qualities along with the completion of the sergeants' academy over the past year put him into an ideal position for a promotion to sergeant," he added. "In sum, the reorganization provides a clear chain of command and hierarchal structure for the future of the city."
On Oct. 16, Weston swore in Courtney Arrigoni, who will start attending the Oregon Police Academy on Dec. 11 and fiinish up April 9.
Arrigoni spent nine years in federal law enforcement in the Coast Guard and also worked as an emergency medical technician at a sobering station, and for the last three years, Arrigoni was a public safety officer at Portland Community College.
"I was ready for a change, and King City was one of the very few cities I wanted to work in because it is small enough that you can build relationships with people," Arrigoni said.
Fessler added, "Courtney technically will be a sixth officer, however, due to promotions, she fills Lt. Happala's officer position. Due to the fact that she will be in the academy until April 2018, she won't fill an operational slot until sometime after that date."
Later next year, when Arrigoni starts patroling on her own, King City will have 24/7 police coverage, according to Weston.