Enterprise Police Officers George Kohlhepp and T.J. Miller are still working overtime, carrying a department that hasn’t been overseen by a chief or supported by a sergeant for two months.
The Enterprise department normally has four full-time officers, including the chief, when at full strength. Former chief Wes Kilgore resigned in March, and Sgt. Michelle Bloker is currently on medical leave.
Other law enforcement is helping out, but only on emergency calls, said Wallowa County Sheriff Steve Rogers. “George gives me a schedule a week or two ahead of time and we cover for them,” Rogers said. “These guys (various law enforcement agencies) cover each other all the time on emergency.”
Nevertheless, “It’s been pretty tough on our officers,” said City Administrator Michele Young. “They’ve been holding up and doing a great job. The council has nothing but praise for them and the work they’ve been doing.”
Praise, and overtime, will have to do for some time to come. The council expects to take several more weeks to fully examine the preliminary document produced by the agency review team from the Oregon Association Chiefs of Police (OACP), Young said.
That document was submitted in mid-May and city council intends to work on the issue in the coming weeks. OACP team leader Chief Stuart Roberts of Pendleton continues to communicate with the city, providing clarification of points as required. A finalized, public document is still in the works.
The council has made some progress since receiving the preliminary report — following through on a recommendation to get a job description for a chief written up and submitted to law enforcement publications.
The advertisement will appear in the Chieftain soon.
The job description has not significantly changed from that used to hire former chief Wes Kilgore, Young said.
The council also still plans to arrange a public meeting to inform the public of their progress, Young said, though no definite date has been set.