Sherwood Police Chief Ty Hanlon getting to know citizen concerns
Since January of this year, Ty Hanlon has been chief of police in Sherwood, and during that time, he is getting to know the community and its concerns.
But don't think Hanlon is a stranger to Sherwood and the surrounding community.
Hanlon, who has lived in Sherwood since 1995, spent nearly 15 years with the city of Beaverton as a police officer and detective.
Hanlon arrived at the Sherwood Police Department in 2009 as a sergeant and became captain in 2012. He took over as interim police chief late last year, following the announcement that longtime police chief Jeff Groth was retiring after 14 years of service.
"He was a great mentor," Hanlon said of Groth. "He did a lot of great things within the community and set up a lot of programs that really put us on the right path."
Hanlon said Groth "really recognized the importance of citizen engagement and making that a priority for our officers and what we do."
He added, "They are big shoes to fill, for sure, but he really laid a great foundation for moving into the future."
The Sherwood Police Department currently has 27 sworn officers and four support personnel.
Sherwood has grown rapidly so far this century, and the trend is set to continue. That creates some challenges for the city government, and specifically for the police department, as Hanlon noted.
"We have a lot of construction within the city, Tualatin-Sherwood Road, up to Roy Rogers and Highway (99W)," he said. "It definitely impacts us in the sense of congestion, and it's something that we'll have for the next two to three years as that project finishes up."
Hanlon continued, "We're continuing to add homes within the city, so there will be more calls for service for us. There's just an influx of people from the outside that travel 99, that are utilizing our services as they see what we offer … We're managing our calls, but we still need to grow with the community."
Another challenge is keeping up with technology.
"Everything is changing and evolving pretty quickly in that arena," Hanlon said, noting that investigations often require a certain degree of tech-savviness. "We're having to become experts in these fields."
Hanlon's department handles citizen concerns, and many of them center on how people navigate the roadways. Hanlon mentioned problems that include speeding, distracted driving and the observance of stop signs.
Sherwood is still mourning the deaths of two school-age girls who were struck and killed by a vehicle in February, while walking in a residential area.
"We have communities with a lot of walkers and a lot of congestion with schools and kids, so there's always this heightened sense of awareness of cars, coming and going, that make it dangerous all over," Hanlon said. "That's probably one of our biggest complaints, just how people drive."
Asked about the national issue of the synthetic opioid fentanyl, and how it may be affecting the Sherwood community, Hanlon said, "It's a very scary drug. It's on our radar. We're aware of it. We're not immune to it."
Sherwood isn't a fentanyl hotbed, though, Hanlon added. He said he doesn't recall a specific case in which Sherwood police officers discovered fentanyl tablets.
"I know we're not seeing a bunch of it, thank goodness — but it's not that it's not here," Hanlon said. "I don't believe we've come across it like you maybe heard stories in other cities. But I do know it's here. Our goal is to educate students, parents and the community at large on how serious and dangerous fentanyl is."
On the topic of mass shootings in America, including the recent school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, in which 19 young students and two teachers were killed, Hanlon was asked if these concerns reach students in Sherwood.
"Our school resource officer's primary responsibility is at the high school," Hanlon said. "But he does jump over to the middle school and interacts at the elementary schools, as time allows."
As to news of these shootings, Hanlon added, "It's been ongoing for years for us. It's something that's a top priority for us, with threats. We work closely with the school district to provide the safest environments and the most updated training."
The police chief said, "I can tell you that it's just something that we are always evaluating and are always trying to make adjustments. You hate to say it, but you want to learn as much as you can from these other incidents to better ourselves."
Hanlon said even though it's growing, the relatively small size of Sherwood — its population is right around 20,000 — allows officers to connect with the community in a way they can't always do in larger cities.
"I think we're pretty unique," he said. "It's just an opportunity for us to engage with the community and I think we do that really well. It's been a great relationship on both sides, and people aren't afraid to call or talk to us."
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