Three candidates left in West Linn police chief search
The city of West Linn expects to announce the hiring of its new police chief next month.
After several months of recruitment efforts, three candidates — acting Police Chief Peter Mahuna, Port of Portland Police Captain Cory Chase and Department of Public Safety Standards and Training Leadership Program Coordinator Terry Moss — remain under consideration, the city announced Friday afternoon.
Mahuna, who came to WLPD in 2018 after a long career with the Portland Police Bureau, was named acting chief of police in April 2020 after the city placed Chief Terry Kruger on administrative leave. Kruger was fired last December and Mahuna remained acting chief while the city launched its recruitment with the help of Emergency Services Consulting International.
Chase began working for Port of Portland Police in 2012 and was promoted to captain in 2017. Prior to that he worked with the police departments in Prineville and Redmond. Chase has served on the Washougal School Board since 2016 and recently defended the district's implementation of Washington's mask requirements for schools.
Moss has worked for DPSST, the state's officer training and certification agency, for the past three years. Like Mahuna, he's worked in law enforcement for well over two decades. He worked in Molalla before launching a 27-year career with the St. Helens Police Department, most recently serving as St. Helens' chief of police.
Before retiring from St. Helens in 2017, Moss told the Chronicle, a Columbia County newspaper, his interest in law enforcement began in middle school.
New details of WLPD's false arrest of Michael Fesser in 2017 shook the city last year. Community members have called for increased transparency and community involvement within the police department. Those calls extended to the hiring of the city's next chief and city officials promised to make good on the community's wish.
Before seeking applicants, the city and ECSI met with several community groups to hear feedback that would help shape the candidate profile.
Now the city is promising community groups like Building Bridges West Linn, the West Linn Community for Police Reform, the Police Oversight and Accountability Taskforce and West Linn Alliance for Inclusive Community, as well as the city's neighborhood associations, will participate in an in-person assessment of the three candidates Oct. 28.
"This exercise will be publicly broadcast for the community and is designed to measure critical job competencies identified by the community," the city's Friday press release stated.
The following day local law enforcement leaders will assess the candidates in two evaluations that will be closed to the public.
Those leaders will include Derrick Peterson, a Multnomah County Sheriff's captain and president of the local chapter of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives, as well as Milwaukie Police Chief Luke Strait and Lake Oswego Fire Chief and former police chief Don Johnson.
City Manager Jerry Gabrielatos will consider input from community members and the local law enforcement leaders before making a final decision in November.
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