Mark Chase came about a month shy of serving three years as an officer and lieutenant for the Gervais Police Department.
Last week the city of Gervais announced that it promoted Chase to the position of police chief, effective June 4. The promotion fills the vacancy left by the retirement of law-enforcement veteran Peter Spirup.
"Chase has been with the department since July, 2016," Gervais City Manager Susie Marston said. "He was hired as an officer and then promoted to lieutenant before his recent appointment to chief.
"Former Chief Peter Spirup recommended Chase to fill the position upon his retirement."
Marston said the smooth transition keeps the department operating fluently while the city looks to fill one position for full staffing.
"With his promotion, this leaves an opening for another officer, which we are actively recruiting for now," the city manager said.
Chase has been involved in law enforcement at various capacities for more than 36 years, including serving with the Dallas, Salem, Junction City and Gervais police forces.
A May 2016 news story in the Eugene Register Guard said Chase served as the Junction City police chief for 7 years prior to being fired in April 2016 by City Administrator Jason Knope for, among other reasons, issues surrounding a handgun that had gone missing from the department's weapons storage area.
A month later the newspaper reported that Chase's successor found the missing gun in a locked file cabinet that was only accessible by the city's police chief and city administrator.
The city-issued gun was initially taken from Chase in July 2014 after he had been placed on paid administrative leave by then City Administrator Melissa Bowers, who in turn gave it to a city police officer to store. When Chase returned to work the following February, the gun was missing.
In October 2015 Chase requested that the Department of Justice investigate the missing gun, but the agency did not turn up anything.
Chase studied criminal justice and corrections at Western Oregon University where he earned a bachelor's of science in 1988. He also completed a corrections associate's degree at Chemeketa Community College in 1985 and took graduate law courses at Lewis and Clark College in 1995-96.
Chase has both police and corrections certifications with the Department of Public Safety Standards & Training (DPSST), with which he serves as an instructor.
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