St. Helens police chief to take job with state training program
St. Helens Police Chief Terry Moss is departing from the St. Helens Police Department in July to take a position with the Oregon Department of Public Safety Standards and Training as a leadership training coordinator.
Moss confirmed with the Spotlight Tuesday afternoon, May 1, that he would be leaving SHPD after 27 years with the department. His last day will be July 31.
"After 27 years with the city, I have been thinking a lot about the next chapter in my life. I enjoy being in the classroom. Some of my fondest memories come from my time spent as the DARE officer and working with our 5th grade students. That interest continued as we developed our Citizens Police Academy. That led into part-time work at Portland Community College and Portland State University," Moss stated in an email to the Spotlight.
"I recently worked with DPSST on a law enforcement legitimacy curriculum that is now being presented at all levels within their training programs," Moss added. "This opportunity seems to be a natural fit for me."
Reports from The Daily Record also show that Moss was one of four in contention for a police chief position in Ellensburg, Washington, earlier this year. The position was ultimately awarded to an internal applicant.
During a St. Helens City Council work session, Wednesday, May 2, council members and staff were made aware of the chief's upcoming departure.
"It's been a great ride," Moss said during the meeting. "This city has been terrific to me. And it's not just the city and the police department, but the whole community."
Staff and council members expressed appreciation to Moss for his service to the community, including many of whom have known him for many years.
"I'm very sad for us and for the community, but I'm very happy for you," councilor Susan Conn said Wednesday.
Moss was first hired in 1991 as an SHPD officer. He spent several years working as a detective before being promoted to sergeant and then lieutenant in 2004.
In 2013, Moss was tapped to serve as the city's police chief. Most recently, he was awarded the Max Petersen Award for youth engagement from the Oregon Association of Chiefs of Police during a conference in April.
Moss said some of his highlights with the department include receiving an Oregon Accreditation Alliance certification in 2017, as well as the development and continuation of a Crisis Intervention Team training program, which offers education for law enforcement about mental health and ways to deescalate crisis situations.
Lt. Joseph Hogue has worked with Moss for 20 years at SHPD. Seeing Moss lead programs like the CIT trainings, or launching a Citizens Police Academy in the early 2000s for community members to learn what officers do on a daily basis, taught Hogue that law enforcement can include many layers of involvement.
"I think he set the tone with doing CIT and the Citizens Academy that if you want to do that kind of stuff, go out and do it. It really changed the way we interact with citizens," Hogue said. "It can be more than just enforcing laws. The education piece is important too."
Moss has also promoted community activities like Cocoa with a Cop, Lemonade with the Law, and Donut Day.
Moss said he is also proud of the professionals he works with in the community, especially new faces that have been hired into the department in recent years.
"We've got some really neat people that I'm really proud of, and [the community] should be really proud of," Moss said.
City staff will now begin the process of advertising for the open police chief position both internally and externally to determine who will fill the role.