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Like other essential workers, Woodburn Police continued to serve during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

My name is Martin Pilcher, and I am the Interim Chief of Police of the Woodburn Police Department. After 28 years at other law enforcement agencies I was hired as a Lieutenant by the Woodburn Police Department in February 2017. COURTESY PHOTO: CITY OF WOODBURN - Woodburn Police Department Interim  Chief Marty Pilcher.

In January 2018, I became the Deputy Chief of Police and upon the retirement of Chief Jim Ferraris on March 1, 2021, I have been serving as Woodburn's interim chief of police. It continues to be a distinct privilege to serve the residents of Woodburn and to work with our diverse community members and groups. Further, it is a pleasure to work as part of the city of Woodburn government as a whole, and WPD personnel appreciate the support of City Administrator Scott Derickson and the Woodburn City Council.

On July 6, 2021, the WPD opened its lobby doors allowing access to our Community Room and Records Division counter for the first time in 15 months. While this represented a physical manifestation of the reduction in COVID 19 restrictions, it also signified an opportunity to review the experiences and changes at WPD. During this time period both profound and unprecedented events occurred.

During that 15 months, our staff continued to provide service to our community throughout the pandemic. Like other essential workers in our community, WPD patrol officers continuously delivered services no matter the potential of exposure to COVID-19. Further, these same officers worked through the effects of nearby wildfires, an ice storm and an unprecedented heat wave.

Additionally, WPD personnel worked to ensure two political events occurred without conflict. None of this would have been possible without the support of city of Woodburn staff from other departments, the continued support of the City Council and the residents of Woodburn.

An example of this support was the tireless efforts of staff to provide WPD employees with the necessary COVID related personal protective equipment to carry out their duties with proper protection. Further, the City Council approved the addition of a police officer position in the most recent budget. This officer will allow us to provide a greater level of service to our residents.

We experienced one significant personnel change in recent months when Ferraris retired March 1 after five-and-a-half years as Woodburn's chief of police. Although Chief Ferraris has left the agency, our commitment to our core values of integrity, courage, pride, respect, accountability and service remains unwavering. In recent months, the Oregon Legislature has enacted a number of police reform measures. WPD has incorporated these into our policies and training.

The city of Woodburn works to build an inclusive public safety program. An important part of this effort is the opportunity to cultivate and maintain relationships with our residents. One primary method of this relationship building was the opportunity to attend a wide variety of community events.

Understandably over the last 15 months these opportunities have been drastically curtailed. With the reduction in COVID-19 restrictions, we at WPD look forward to again staffing and participating in community events.

Upcoming events include: National Night Out , Tuesday, Aug. 3; Fiesta Mexicana, Friday and Saturday, Aug. 6-7; Community Connection Day, Saturday, Aug. 21.

Each of these events gives our staff the opportunity to meet Woodburn residents and enjoy these occasions. In the near future, we intend to again host our Citizens Academy. This program allows Woodburn residents to learn more about the city of Woodburn and the WPD.

Recently, the city of Woodburn concluded an agreement with the Woodburn School District to continue to provide school resource officers to the local schools. This agreement incorporated recommendations from our community gained from an extensive process conducted by WSD personnel. This process included a community survey and a collaborative effort between the city and the district.

WPD welcomes the opportunity to continue to provide services to students, staff and parents.

As always, it is a privilege and honor for WPD employees to serve the residents of Woodburn.


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