Scappoose struggles to fill cop slots
The Scappoose Police Department is hiring for multiple positions, including a new lieutenant.
Six applicants for the lieutenant position went in front of a six-person oral board in June. The newly created lieutenant position replaces an administrative sergeant position that had been created last year. According to City Manager Michael Sykes, the sergeant position did not meet some of the administrative needs of the department, so it was replaced with the lieutenant position.
The lieutenant position comes with a higher wage, between $67,000 and $104,000 annually.
As of press time, Scappoose Police Chief Norm Miller had not responded to questions about the status of the hiring process.
The department reopened applications for a sergeant, which earns between $58,000 and $90,000 annually. A June 17 city department report showed that the department did not receive any applications in the first opening.
The city is also hiring for patrol officers to fill positions vacated in the past year. In the fiscal year that ended June 30, the city came in far below the budgeted amount for patrol officers due to difficulty filling the positions. In the most recent job opening, however, the department received 20 applications.
Scappoose isn't the only city struggling to staff the police department. In Portland, facing a massive shortage of officers, the Portland Police Bureau recently changed its policy to allow hiring of officers with a GED-level education and face and neck tattoos. Scappoose struggles to compete with other law enforcement agencies, which frequently offer bonuses and incentives to new employees that Scappoose can't afford.
Officers in Scappoose have left the department in the past year for jobs at other Oregon law enforcement agencies, and one officer, Sgt. Dennis Viereck, was fired amid allegations of misconduct.