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New police officer to leave for academy in March

Troutdale's Dale Willcox is Sandy's newest police officer

The Sandy Police Department has a new staff member ready to devote his time to protecting and serving the people of Sandy and Estacada.

Dale Willcox was sworn in in front of the Sandy City Council at its regular meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 20.

Willcox, who lives with his wife in Troutdale, has always wanted to be a police officer in this area.

"I just really like Sandy and the area," he said. "There's enough of a city where you have what you need out here but you're not in a big city."

Willcox was hired to fill an empty position vacated several months ago, said Sandy Police Chief Kim Yamashita in an email.

Although this is his first full-time law enforcement job, Willcox has been working as a reserve officer for the communities of Sandy and Estacada for more than a year.

“He scored almost 100 percent on testing and was No. 2 on our hiring list that was established in late 2013, early 2014,” Yamashita said.

Willcox will mostly be working on training and administration tasks until he attends the 16-week police academy training in Salem in late March.

"I’m just excited to finally go," Wilcox said. "It's been something I’ve been wanted to get started on for a while. I'm finally at the end of wanting to do it and at the beginning of getting to start my dream job."

With Willcox joining the Sandy Police force, the department is one step closer to Yamashita’s eventual goal of increasing coverage in the communities by hiring more officers.

“It may surprise many folks that we have times in both cities when there is only one officer on duty,” Yamashita said. “My next priority is to increase staffing and work toward a minimum of two officers on 24/7 in Sandy and work with Estacada to increase their coverage as their budget will allow.”

In addition, Yamashita said the city of Estacada and its school district have expressed interest in adding a school resource officer.

“We will hold some talks and see what we can do to meet that need,” Yamashita said. “If it comes to fruition it will require we hire another officer.”

Although Willcox’s hire filled a current authorized position, Yamashita has concerns about the future workload among Sandy Police Department’s current team. With the passage of Measure 91 and the impending legalization of recreational marijuana, Yamashita has discussed the need for more trained police officers.

“It is clear from Colorado and Washington, that the legalization does not decrease police workload, it only changes the work,” she said. “Both states are dealing with money laundering, black market and other crimes as a result of the legalization.”

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