Four vie to be top cop in St. Helens
UPDATED 6/29/18 — Four candidates vying to lead the St. Helens Police Department met with members of the public during a meet-and-greet Tuesday evening.
On Tuesday night, June 26, the four men — SHPD Lt. Joe Hogue, Brian Greenway, Scott Hewetson Sr. and Michael Lester — introduced themselves, gave introductions, referenced qualifications and stated their reasons for wanting to work with SHPD.
The meet-and-greet was the first public introduction of the applicants.
A group of roughly 20 citizens, city staff, police department employees and city councilors mingled with the applicants for roughly an hour and a half.
Earlier in the week a series of interviews was held by a group of citizens and police department employees with the intent to narrow the applicant field.
Later Tuesday, the St. Helens City Council met in closed session to interview finalists for the position.
Many who attended the meet-and-greet said they appreciated being included in the process and having the chance to hear from the applicants. Attendees were also given forms to provide feedback.
The City Council did not make any final decisions Tuesday. Council members indicated criminal background checks would still need to be conducted before naming the city's police chief.
Greenway works as a captain with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, where he has been employed for 25 years. Originally from Illinois, Greenway served in the U.S. Army for three years and worked with the Carpentersville Police Department in Illinois for several years before moving to Nevada. While with the Las Vegas department, he worked his way through the ranks and served in several enforcement roles, including traffic and narcotics.
"I'm here to come up with long-time solutions that are timeless. The police will never be able to arrest their way out of a problem. Policing has changed over the years and we have to continue to seek out long-term solutions," Greenway stated. "When people have problems at midnight, or two in the morning, people call the police. So, the police are also now problem solvers, and I embrace that."
Hogue currently serves as a lieutenant with the St. Helens Police Department. He has worked with SHPD since 1998. In 2016, Hogue completed a highly sought after and competitive training program with the FBI National Academy. He has also helped lead reserve officer trainings. During the meet-and-greet, Hogue described his childhood growing up in St. Helens and said school visits as a youth and encouragement during his training as a reserve officer prompted him to seek a career in law enforcement.
"Now that I'm a member and have been here for a while, I want to share some of that, and I've been working on some of that already," Hogue said of his positive experiences in police work. "That's why I want to be chief, is to guide this department, so these officers can inspire someone like I was inspired, too."
Lester currently works as assistant police chief with the Vancouver., Wash., police department. Originally from La Grande, he also lived in Hermiston and Montana. Following high school, Lester served three years in the U.S. Army before pursuing a career in law enforcement. He worked with the La Grande Police Department for several years before moving to Vancouver PD in 1992. Lester has worked patrol, internal affairs and drug task force as a sergeant, lieutenant and commander. Lester noted the need to continue pushing the department forward in 21st century policing programs.
"I've always said that leadership is just a position. It's the relationships that you build in that leadership position that really make you successful. And it's not the leader, it's the team that makes you successful," Lester said.
Scott Hewetson Sr.
Hewetson is a lieutenant with the Hillsboro Police Department, where he has worked since 1997. Originally from Hawaii, Hewetson served in the U.S. Air Force before being hired as an officer with the Honolulu Police Department. Hewetson and his wife moved to Oregon and in 1997 he started his service with the Hillsboro Police Department. He has worked with youth services, as a patrol sergeant, a patrol watch commander and in the office of professional standards.
"We are all one in this community. Our job as St. Helens police officers is, I believe, to be guardians and peacekeepers of the community. We're not a paramilitary occupying force. We have to cooperate, we have to collaborate, and we have to communicate," Hewetson said.