SEASIDE - The new Seaside Police Chief has been busy in his first three months.
Bob Gross has worked with his officers to apprehend a shooting suspect, developed a suggested graffiti ordinance for the City Council, participated in the community picnic and the Domestic Violence Awareness vigil, created operational plans for major Seaside events to help provide security, visited many of the local businesses, written public safety announcements to help residents and participated in the purchase of property to expand parking for the police department.
In his spare time, he is involved with the Special Olympics for people with intellectual disabilities. He will be the chairman of the Oregon Law Enforcement Torch Run in 2006, which works to raise both money and awareness for Special Olympics. "I like to be involved in the community," he said. He is encouraging his officers to get out into the community, too.
Gross heads a department of 20 full-time officers, two reserves and eight dispatchers at 1091 S. Holladay Drive. He is working on creating a business watch program, long-term planning for the department and city events, increasing training and partnerships and buying new equipment. He wants to hold a community meeting to find out more about what the public wants from its police department. "I want to include the community and the department in decisions that affect them," he said.
Gross said he wants the annual volleyball tournament to be more family-oriented. He said alcohol should not be promoted at the tournament, especially for underage drinkers.
He took steps toward a business watch program by alerting the Seaside Downtown Development Association when counterfeit bills were circulating. The association alerted its members. Gross said an automatic phone system can be set up to do the same thing. "It's to help businesses not become victims and it's been successful in catching people who've tried to pass bad checks or credit cards," he said
He has held a department meeting and is working on a strategic plan. He is also creating a department committee to identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and limitations.
Gross said better planning can maximize the effectiveness of the officers. He wants to see the department attain a standard of excellence that merits accreditation by the Oregon Association of Chiefs of Police.
Some Seaside officers will participate in the Clatsop County Inter-Agency Narcotics Team and possibly help develop a regional hostage rescue response team. For now, an officer is working on investigations with Detective Steve Barnett, and in January another officer will work with the Inter-Agency team. "Then they can come back and be more effective in the street and share that with other officers," Gross said.
Gross wants to work more closely with the community by developing a citizen academy that would lead to a volunteer program within the police department. A partnership with apartment owners and managers will help them know what to look for in potential narcotics users.
The department is collecting money for children's bike helmets, and has obtained about $1,300 so far. The Chamber of Commerce, fire department, Downtown Development Association, Kiwanis, Rotary, Beach Development and private individuals have donated.
Gross said the police department is one of the most visible parts of the community, and he wants Seaside residents to be able to brag about their police department.
Information about the department is available at www.seasidepd.org, as well as weather and road safety information and other tips. Gross also welcomes citizen ridealongs. Anyone with comments or suggestions is welcome to contact Chief Gross at (503) 738-6311 or e-mail Bgross@cityofseaside.us
"I am available," he said.