Search - Forest Grove is one step closer to finding a new top cop

Forest Grove has narrowed its options down to three finalists to head the police department. Though none has worked for the Forest Grove Police Department, all three are from Oregon.

The finalists are:

• Mike Moran, retired after 29 years at the Medford Police Department and currently working as a background investigator for that department;

• Kerry Aleshire, a 19-year veteran of the Hillsboro Police Department; and

• Stan Newland, who has worked for the Beaverton Police since 1999 and was with the Newberg Police Department for 22 years prior to that.

The city began a nationwide search for a new chief in February, after Glenn VanBlarcom announced he would retire in March after 35 years at the Forest Grove Police Department.

The initial response was huge, with 36 applicants from 15 states.

'There was no doubt we were going to find a finalist from this group,' said Rob DuValle, human resources director for the city.

DuValle matched the applicants' resumes with a list of criteria set by an advisory hiring panel and narrowed the list down to eight potential finalists.

Those eight candidates were then scrutinized by a panel made up of a police chief from outside Forest Grove, two community members, two police department employees and a city administrator.

That group settled on the three finalists.

The next step will be a whirlwind series of interviews set for Tuesday, May 13, when the three finalists will lay out their visions to a pair of stakeholder committees and the public. The day will conclude with an evening session before the Forest Grove City Council.

'They're going to be going from literally 9 in the morning until 9 at night on that day and going through each of those groups,' DuValle said.

DuValle will then gather the input from the hiring committees and the public and submit a report of their findings to City Manager Michael Sykes, who will meet the finalists on Wednesday, May 14 and make the final decision on who to hire.

DuValle said the new chief could start in July.

The chief job pays from $73,644 to $93,972.

The last chief to be hired from outside the department was VanBlarcom's predecessor, Tom Lowther, who in 1988 was hired away from Alliance, Neb., where he served as chief.

Lowther served as Forest Grove chief for 16 years before stepping down in 2004.

VanBlarcom started his police career as a reserve officer in Cornelius in 1969. He was hired full-time in 1970 and eventually moved to the Forest Grove Police Department in 1973, rising to the rank of captain before being tapped to be chief in 2004.

Search on for new fire chief

The City of Forest Grove has posted the application packet for a new fire chief on its web site.

The search for a fire chief is a little over a month behind the search for a new police chief, said Rob DuValle, Forest Grove's director of human resources.

'Theirs is a little more complex as far as constituents that are interested,' DuValle said.

That complexity is expressed in the structure of the fire department, which is a combination of a rural fire department and a city department. The chief answers to both Forest Grove Fire and Rescue and the Forest Grove Rural Fire Board.

The job pays from $73,644 to $93,972 and requires a bachelor's degree in fire administration, public administration, business administration or a related field, as well as eight years of experience.

Chief Robert Mills retired in March after 35 years at the department.

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