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Former Forest Grove police chief, DOJ special agent, Connecticut captain are the three picks ahead of virtual meet-and-greet

COURTESY - Phillip Kearney, Steven Lougal and Janie SchutzScappoose has announced the three finalists for the city's next police chief: Phillip Kearney, Steven Lougal and Janie Schutz.

Kearney worked for the Drug Enforcement Agency for 20 years and was involved in arresting one of Afghanistan's largest heroin producers in 2005.

For the past two years, Kearney has worked for the Oregon Department of Justice as an assistant special agent in charge in the criminal justice division.

Kearney is also one of the plaintiffs in a lawsuit opposing the COVID-19 vaccination mandate for state, healthcare and school employees. The six plaintiffs, all of whom had previously had COVID-19, filed the lawsuit against Gov. Kate Brown and the head of the Oregon Health Authority in September. In October, a federal judge denied their motion for a temporary restraining order against the mandate. According to court filings, Kearney had requested an exemption from the vaccine mandate based on a "moral objection to the vaccination."

Lougal is currently a captain for the police department in Bridgeport, Connecticut, a city of close to 150,000 people.

In 2019, Lougal and three other high-ranking officers in the Bridgeport department filed a lawsuit after a colleague, Rebeca Garcia, was appointed assistant police chief. A judge sided with Lougal and the other officers, determining that the city violated civil service hiring rules and the city charter by promoting Garcia to assistant chief without allowing other candidates to apply for the position, the Connecticut Post reported. The city filed an appeal in November 2021.

In early 2021, before the court ruled on the validity of Garcia's hiring, Garcia moved Lougal and three other captains to head different divisions of the police force. Lougal was moved from patrol to special services. Three of the captains, including Lougal, filed an injunction request to block their transfers, which was denied.

Schutz served as the Forest Grove police chief for seven years before resigning in early 2020. She was hired by then-Forest Grove city manager Michael Sykes, who went on to lead Scappoose.

Months after resigning, in testimony in front of a legislative committee on police reform, Schutz alleged Forest Grove city officials blocked her efforts to hold officers accountable for misconduct. Schutz said she repeatedly pushed the city to handle incidents of officers making offensive comments about women and sexual assault victims and failing to investigate possible felony crimes.

Forest Grove city leaders denied Schutz's claims and said the claims "were created to deflect attention from her poor leadership of the department," which led to rapid turnover in the department.

Schutz was a finalist in {obj:59529:Gresham's search} for a police chief earlier this year, but the city ultimately hired a former Multnomah County sheriff's deputy.

Schutz currently works for the Center for Policing Equity.

The city initially said it would announce four finalists, not three.

The three finalists for Scappoose police chief will participant in a virtual meet-and-greet with residents at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 12. Attendees can RSVP by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Jensen Strategies, which led recruitment for the city manager in 2021, is now leading the search for police chief.

Only two Scappoose residents participated in a virtual meeting hosted by Jensen Strategies last year, where the recruitment firm had hoped to learn from residents about what qualities they wanted to see in the leader of the police department.

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