Cottage Grove Police amend personnel spouse, relative policy

Personnel policy for the Cottage Grove Police Department has been amended to allow an officer to directly supervise a relative or member of their household.

The policy is specific to the police department and does not pertain to any other department within the city.

Under Oregon Revised Statutes (ORS), public officials, with the exception of legislators, are prohibited from directly supervising a person who is a relative or household member

However, an exception can be made if a public body adopts policies specifying when a public official acting in an official capacity may directly supervise a person who is a relative or member of the household.

The Cottage Grove Police Department has developed such a policy specifying when a sergeant may do so.

The policy describes the role of sergeants and limits their role and functions as a supervisor by prohibiting them from participating “in any interview, discussion, or debate regarding the appointment, employment or promotion of a relative or member of their household; or regarding the discipline, discharge, firing or demotion of a relative or member of their household.”

Chief of Police Scott Shepherd presented the resolution to the Cottage Grove City Council for approval on Monday.

There are two brothers who currently work in the department, Shepherd told the council.

“And there are times when they work together. And the way our policy and procedure manual stands, the one with the most seniority in our department is the one that would be the lead in that circumstance,” he explained. “And so they’re responsible for leading the shift, making decisions based on policy and procedure and offering support.”

The role, however, does not involve hiring, firing or promoting other employees, he added.

“And we don’t believe this is a conflict as far as if one of those brothers, both being eligible, under our current criteria to be promoted, were to be promoted and supervise the other,” he said.

The police department rank and command structure provides that the Chief of Police is the only supervisor having the responsibility to appoint, remove, discipline, promote or transfer police department employees.

“I will be honest. It does make me a little concerned,” said Councilor Mike Fleck. “I do support this, but I hope that if there are any issues that, it is something that we could review in the future.”

The council voted unanimously to pass the resolution.

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