Police chief recovering from stroke this summerWARRENTON - Police Chief Scott Church is proving you can't keep a good cop down, as his return to active duty involved winning support for a police grant.

Church is recovering from a stroke suffered in the summer.

Wednesday he stood strong as Mayor Jeff Hazen and his colleagues approved a state and local matching grant totaling $3,046 for cassette recorders to document driving while under the influence of intoxicants field sobriety tests.

"The Clatsop County District Attorney's office has requested all law enforcement personnel throughout the county use cassette recorders to document DUII field sobriety tests, and/or interviews related to criminal actions to record statements as evidence for future prosecution," Church said.

Church left the meeting and went home after the grant was approved and Hazen and commissioners then approved "a show of true spirit and respect" to Church, as eight city employees donated more than 80 hours of vacation time/sick leave to cover the chief until he gets back to full-time work.

A relative of Commissioner Lylla Gaebel, who is on the police force, was one of three people to donate 16 hours.

Hazen said of Church, "We as a commission are really proud of the employees who gave to one of their own in need."

"We all wish the chief well," said Commissioner Paul Rodriguez. "Seeing him here tonight really was an inspiration."

"He has that Warrenton fighting spirit," added Commissioner Bill Harris.

"When we saw him here tonight, we were all really proud," said Commissioner Lisa Lamping. "And let me tell you, those are the stories that bring tears to your eyes. We remember when things were looking bleak and 25 city employees went down to the hospital and prayed for him. He turned for the better that night - just like that. I want to share this story, because it is that amazing how far he has come."

The official transfer of vacation leave is allowed under Warrenton's Collective Bargaining Agreement for Police Employees, said city staff.

- Justin Lacche

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