Fraternal Order of Police expresses concerns to council
Oregon group's president calls turnover rate at the Scappoose department 'ridiculous'
Rod Edwards approached the Scappoose City Council Monday, Nov. 18, to urge the council to allow independent investigations into Scappoose Police Chief Douglas Greisen to continue.
Edwards is the Oregon president of the Fraternal Order of Police and president of the FOP lodge of which he is a member.
Greisen is currently on paid administrative leave pending the results of two investigations one based on accusations he was running a retaliatory work environment and the other exploring inappropriate spending following the discovery of cash and bank records linked to an unauthorized account found in a locked drawer in his office.
These investigations follow an initial investigation that found Greisen mismanaged a police chase Feb. 4 and violated departmental policies.
The FOP has a stake and a concern as to what is going on here as it relates to public safety, Edwards told the council Monday. We know there are active investigations going on. We would like to urge the council to allow those investigations to go on as needed and that the results of those investigations fall where they are and that any decisions that you make, choose to make, at the conclusion of those investigations be in the best interest of the police department and the community at large.
Mayor Scott Burge said he agreed the investigations should be completed, but declined to comment further about the chief until those investigations concluded.
Scappoose City Councilor Donna Gedlich told the Spotlight Wednesday, Nov. 20, the FOP has little to do with Scappoose. The only thing I know about his group after going online is that basically theyre a union of former officers that go to communities that help form unions in departments and they really dont have a lot to do with our area at all, Gedlich said.
According to the FOPs website, The Fraternal Order of Police is the worlds largest organization of sworn law enforcement officers, with more than 325,000 members in more than 2,100 lodges.
The citys five other councilors did not return calls from the Spotlight for comment.
Edwards told the Spotlight he is concerned about how the council is handling the investigations into the chief.
The City Council is really letting their friendship get in the way of their professional duties, he said. They are responsible for that community and need to look at whats best for the city.
Edwards also noted that he received a list from a former police officer indicating that 22 officers have left the SPD in the past seven years. He added that typically, in a department of a similar size, the turnover would be about one or two officers per year, but even those numbers would be high.
Thats ridiculous, he said of the SPDs officer turnover rate. You look at that, how much money thats costing the city, because of the atmosphere within that agency, people are leaving. Theyre getting theyre certifications and theyre gone.
Over the past week, Edwards said he has been trying to contact current and former Scappoose police officers, but has had little success in talking with current officers.
These guys are so scared that they dont talk to outside agencies, he said.
Edwards said former SPD officers indicated to him there were problems with the department and its leadership.
Edwards said he believes that if Greisen does come back to the department as chief, it would have ill effects on the department despite the outcome of the pending investigations.
If all of this stuff goes through, they will probably not get a seasoned officer over there. They will get recruits who will get training and get out. If they put the chief back, Ill do everything I can to spread the word about whats going on over there, he said.
Edwards said he hopes the investigations clear the chief, but still thinks Greisen needs to move on for the sake of the department.
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