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Louie wraps up duties, returns to retirement

Ron Louie is returning to the quiet life. Louie, the longtime former chief of the Hillsboro Police Department, came out of retirement recently to temporarily lead the police department in the wake of former Police Chief Carey Sullivan’s March resignation.

Sullivan, who was hired in 2010, served for 30 months before resigning effective March 9.

Louie, asked by Hillsboro City Manager Michael Brown to serve on an interim basis, said the tasks he was given when he stepped in on March 3 have essentially been completed.

“My original contract stated that I’d be having to teach at PSU (Portland State University) at the end of June, and I couldn’t stay any longer than August in any case,” Louie said Sunday. “But the initial report is done. I’ll turn in a draft report by the end of the day on Monday — it’s about 30 pages.”

Louie, who served as Hillsboro’s police chief from 1992-2007, teaches a law enforcement course called “Tactical Communication in Crisis Incidents.”

Louie said he came in with several primary assignments: to stabilize the police department by providing immediate leadership; resolve several ongoing labor disputes; recommend ways to fix morale issues within the police force; and find out from police officers and staff what the organization needs in the characteristics of its next chief.

“He fulfilled his responsibilities earlier than expected,” said Brown.

Louie said his last day as interim chief will be Friday, June 14, but he’ll return for a few days once a new police chief is in place to assist with the transition.

With Louie moving on, Steve Greagor, assistant city manager, will take over the day-to-day administrative duties of the police department until a new chief is hired.

Louie’s departure at the end of the week also signals a long-range shift in another aspect of police operations. Once Louie leaves, Brown said, the organizational setup will be altered. When a new police chief arrives, he or she will report to the assistant city manager — Greagor — rather than to the city manager as is now the procedure.

“That creates continuity, and that was a factor in the decision for Louie to leave now rather than three months from now,” Brown said.

Greagor has a significant background in law enforcement: He served in the Hillsboro Police Department for nine years and advanced to the rank of lieutenant before leaving to head the city’s Parks & Recreation Department.

Brown noted, however, that Greagor is not being considered for the police chief’s position. “Steve is not interested in being chief of police and is not going to be the chief of police,” said Brown.

Brown said he asked Louie to help identify the traits, attributes and qualities best suited to the police department

“The number one thing I wanted ... was to hear from employees,” Brown said. “Ron has been working on that.”

Louie said his years with the department offered him a unique opportunity to glean the perspectives of the department’s personnel. “I personally know many of these people, so they were very forthright during one-on-one interviews,” said Louie.

He added that because of his long connection to the department, when the agency is in stress he feels it personally.

“It’s almost like a physician operating on his own family member,” he said. “On an emotional level, I care for those people. I’ve known them for 20 years, and feel bad about the morale issue. But the information is incredible — people didn’t pull back like in most organizations. I sincerely appreciate that.”

Brown said the timeline for hiring a new chief has not changed, but he declined to set a target date to have a new chief on board.

“We’ll take as much time as needed,” Brown said. “We won’t settle for anything but the best. We’ll do it again and again until such time as we have the best.”

Lt. Mike Rouches, HPD’s public information officer, said the personnel changes at the top are not affecting public safety or the work police officers do.

“The good news is that nothing has changed in terms of how we do the job,” he said.




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