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Hales, police working on smooth leadership transition

Photo Credit: KOIN 6 NEWS - Mayor Charlie Hales announced Police Chief Mike Reese will retire in January and be replaced by Assistant Chief Larry O'Dea at an Oct. 7 press conference.Mayor Charlie Hales is planning the smoothest transition in Portland police chiefs in many years.

On Tuesday, current Chief Mike Reese announced he will retire in January. Hales said Reese will be replaced by Assistant Chief Larry O'Dea, who is currently the Assistant Chief of Operations for the Portland Police Bureau.

During an Oct. 7 press conference, Hales said his priorities for O'Dea include implementing the recent civil rights settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice, improving trust with the community, increasing diversity within the bureau, and preparing the next budget for the bureau.

“If you’re looking for drama and intrigue, look at tonight’s TV listings,” Hales said at the press conference.

Hales, Reese and O'Dea have three months to coordinate the transition, which is longer than any change since June 1993, when then-Chief Tom Potter retired and was replaced by Deputy Chief Charles Moose.

Every other switch since 1981 has been more abrupt and clouded with controversy, however.

Shortly after first being elected mayor, Neil Goldschmidt appointed Bruce Baker as chief in January 1974. Baker, the former chief from Berkley, Calif., was not popular among rank and file officers, however. Goldschmidt assigned the bureau to then-Commissioner Charles Jordan, who kept Baker until he announced his retirement for health reasons in 1981.

By then Goldschmidt had been replaced as mayor by Frank Ivancie, a former commissioner. When Jordan announce he would conduct a national search for Baker's replacement, Ivancie took the bureau from Jordan and appointed his own chief, Ron Still a captain with the bureau.

Still remained chief until 1985, when Ivancie was defeated and replaced by Bud Clark. After Still resigned, Clark appointed Portland Police Captain Penny Harrington as the first female chief in city history. But Clark dismissed Harrington in June 1986 after her husband, Officer Gary Harrington, was accused of compromising a drug investigation.

Clark appointed Captain Jim Davis to replace Harrington, but fired him in April 1987 during a meeting at the Fat City cafe in Multnomah Village after squabbling over the bureau's budget. Davis' replacement, retired Portland police commander Richard Walker, lasted until November 1980, when he left after being accused of slapping a female subordinate during an argument.

Clark appointed North Precinct Captain Potter to replace Walker. Potter served until June 1993, when he retired. He was replaced by Moose, who served until August 1999, when he abruptly resigned to become police chief in Montgomery County, Maryland.

Moose was replaced by former Los Angeles Police Chief Mark Kroeker, who resigned under pressure after numerous confrontations with community members in August 2003.

Then-Mayor Vera Katz appointed former Northeast Precinct Commander Derrick Foxworth to replace Moose. He lasted until June 2006, when Potter, who had been elected mayor, removed him over accusations of an inappropriate relationship with a subordinate and misuse of his official email account.

Potter replaced Foxworth with Central Precinct Commander Rosie Sizer. She was chief when the next mayor, former Commissioner Sam Adams, transferred the bureau to Commisisoner Dan Saltzman. But Adams took the bureau back from Saltzman and dismissed Sizer in May 2010 after she held a press conference and criticized Adams' proposed budget for the bureau.

Adams appointed Reese to replace Sizer. Reese survived the switch to Mayor Charlie Hales, but began talking to Hales about wanting to retire during the summer of 2014. The transition to O'Dea was announced on Oct. 7.

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