by: PHOTO COURTESY: MILWAUKIE POLICE DEPARTMENT - Milwaukie police officers John Downey (right) and Zane Odem at Crater Lake on duty as  providing security for 2,000-plus Cycle Oregon participants in September 2012.Milwaukie's Officer of the Year award will go to the only part-time police officer for the city.

Officer John Downey came from the Oregon State Police, where he had retired as a captain. Because of the “vagaries” of state pension law, he had to keep himself to fewer hours.

“Even through he’s part-time, he’s a prodigious and productive motorcycle officer and writes an amazing number of citations given that he’s only part-time,” said Police Chief Bob Jordan. “Generally your traffic guys are going to be the guys that get the most complaints, because they’re the ones that write the citations, but in my whole time as chief, he’s never gotten one complaint, because no one would ever think to question his professionalism, and he always leaves people with a smile.”

Downey is well-respected by his peers for helping orchestrate Milwaukie's partnership with Cycle Oregon and a can-do attitude in all types of weather.

“I know that all is right with the world, when I turn on the police radio when I get into my car at 6 a.m. on a 36-degree sleety morning and I hear John out there,” Jordan said.

The police chief has tried to encourage Downey to use a police car to protect himself from the elements during particularly bad weather.

Jordan recalled one exchange in the parking lot of the Public Safety Building: “With an icicle dripping off his nose, he said, ‘That’s alright, I like being out here.’ ”

The banquet at the American Legion Post, 2146 S.E. Monroe St., at 6 p.m. Wednesday, March 27, will also honor Reserve Officer of the Year Todd Kibble and Cadet of the Year Patrick Ford. Each of those honored was nominated by their peers and voted on by their 37 fellow officers.

The public is invited to join the festivities. Tickets are $22 and can be purchased before Tuesday online at, by telephone at 503-343-0022, or with a check made payable to Milwaukie Public Safety Foundation and sent to 5185 S.E. Elk St., Milwaukie 97222.

The banquet is hosted by American Legion Post No. 180, the Milwaukie Public Safety Foundation, and the Milwaukie Public Safety Advisory Committee.

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