“Unfortunately, the Enterprise Police Department has a protracted history of accepting mediocrity.”
Oregon Association Chiefs of Police Executive Resources Agency Review.
By Kathleen Ellyn
Wallowa County Chieftain
The department that eats up 37 percent of Enterprise’s general fund has not been a good buy for a long time. That’s the finding of the 27-page report by the Oregon Association Chiefs of Police Executive Resources Agency Review, commissioned by the Enterprise City Council after the resignation of former Chief of Police Wes Kilgore on March 23, 2015.
The recently released document details a history of “mediocrity” and includes some pointed comments from the three chiefs of police who conducted the review in early May: Chief Brian Harvey of La Grande; Chief Wyn Lohner of Baker City and team leader Chief Stuart Roberts of Pendleton.
Although the document praises the officers currently on staff and makes a point of exempting them from criticism, it is critical of the way in which Kilgore, chief of police from 2002 to 2015, ran the department. Comments run from “there is no excuse for such complacency” to “lacking in ethics, role modeling and showing favoritism.”
A redacted portion of the document, under the heading of Firearm and Ammunition Security, is explained by a footnote advising the “information redacted above constitutes investigatory information compiled for criminal law purposes which has been referred to an investigation and is exempt from disclosure.”
What was not exempted from disclosure was the observation that “no inventory of weapons or ammunition was discovered,” immediately followed by the statement, “Speculation exists that weapons obtained from the federal government through a military surplus program cannot all be account for due to deficiencies in documentation, which is compounded by the haphazard way the weapons have been managed.”
Former Chief Wes Kilgore, reached by phone late Tuesday afternoon, indicated he had not seen the agency review or been contacted by anyone at the city.
“They can put me under a microscope,” he said. “I’ve done nothing wrong.”
The findings in the report are followed by detailed instructions as to how Enterprise City Council can address the deficiencies.
The key to moving forward is “the department embrace transparency and accountability measures for all operations.”
Other recommendations include the immediate hire of a qualified police chief and development of a new policy manual.
Other tasks include an independent inventory of property room contents. Several redacted portions of the report under the subheading of Property Room/Evidence Vault Audit are explained with a footnote advising the redacted portion is “investigatory information compiled for criminal law purposes.”
The task force had no hesitation or reservation in saying “a competent police chief can rectify the vast majority of the identified problems . . . this document should serve as a call for action.”
At the Aug. 11 meeting, Enterprise City Council responded to the call for action by voting unanimously to move to the interview stage of the hiring process. Eight applications for the chief of police position remain from the 11 received.