ENTERPRISE — David Ham, chief of police in Seaside, has accepted an offer by the Enterprise City Council to become the new police chief here, according to a press release.
Ham has more than 25 years of law enforcement experience, including six years as chief in Seaside. He accepted the position Friday, Nov. 13.
The position of chief is becoming vacant since current Chief Joel Fish won the election to become Wallowa County sheriff. He takes his new position Jan. 1.
Ham anticipates being able to take over for Fish on that date, provided all the prehiring checks are completed and a final offer is acceptable.
“If everything goes according to plan, I will start Jan 1,” Ham said in a telephone interview with the Chieftain Monday, Nov. 16. “That could work.”
He said the job description seemed to fit what he was looking for, as he would prefer more hands-on police work.
“They were looking for a working chief in addition to the administrative duties,” he said.
He does more administration in Seaside, though he occasionally assists patrol officers.
“It’s not that I’m so removed from it I don’t know how to do it anymore,” he said.
Ham’s current position in Seaside has him supervising a larger department than in Enterprise, where there are four officers working with the chief. The Seaside Police Department maintains a minimum of two patrol units on duty, 24 hours a day. The patrol division consists of three patrol sergeants supervising 14 officers, according to its website.
But why did he pick Enterprise?
“It was just a decision my wife and I have been pondering for a while,” he said. “We’ve been wanting to relocate to somewhere that would be more beneficial after I got into a retirement position.”
He said one thing that helped them decide not to stay in Seaside is the city’s retirement system is not part of the Oregon Public Employees Retirement System.
“By going somewhere else and into another retirement system … I can build up (a) secondary retirement system,” he said.
There were several candidates for the chief position, the release stated. After discussing the conditional offer to Ham in executive session Monday, Nov. 9, the council recessed back to the regular session to vote on making him an offer.
The decision was made after a three-part hiring process, which included an application scoring committee and interviews by a panel consisting of the council’s Executive Committee, law enforcement personnel and multiple community leaders and partners. The decision was finalized through a formal recommendation made to the council by the Enterprise Police Committee.
“The city of Enterprise is confident that Chief Ham’s experience and dedication to law enforcement will immensely benefit the Enterprise Police Department and the city of Enterprise as a whole,” the release stated.