On Thursday, April 12, St. Helens Police Chief Terry Moss received the Oregon Association Chiefs of Police Max Patterson award for his youth engagement efforts in St. Helens.
Chief Moss was presented the award at the annual conference of the Oregon Association Chiefs of Police (OACP) in Bend.
The Max Patterson Award is one of OACP’s highest awards. It is bestowed on an Oregon police chief for his or her contributions to OACP or the community in presenting programs of outstanding benefit to young people of all ages in the local community, according to the City of St. Helens.
St. Helens police and City staff nominated Chief Moss for his years of involvement in St. Helens police activities for youth.
As a patrol officer hired with the St. Helens Police Department in 1991, he was the School District’s D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) officer. Since being promoted to police chief in April 2013, Chief Moss has frequently attended Head Start classes, the press release said.
According to the City of St. Helens, he often presents curriculum in street law classes held at St. Helens High School and encourages patrol officers to make appearances at community events when they are not responding to a call for service. Chief Moss has also arranged for an officer to regularly attend St. Helens Youth Council meetings to listen to any concerns from the middle and high schoolers and answer any questions that they might have.
He personally schedules and attends the Police Department’s recent community engagement events, including Coffee with a Cop, Cocoa with a Cop, and Lemonade with the Law. Parents are encouraged to bring their children to these events to meet officers in a relaxed setting where Chief Moss and the other officers hand out trading cards, stickers, bracelets, and pose for photos at local businesses, the press release said.
Chief Moss also supported his Department’s 2016 good behavior youth “citation” program. St. Helens officers were given packets of pizza citations with instructions to issue them to youth that they observed doing good things in the community such as wearing a bicycle helmet or using a crosswalk. At the end of the summer, 100 young citation recipients were treated to a pizza party where Chief Moss and St. Helens police officers chatted with the young community members and their families.
In 2017, Chief Moss approved his Department’s police support specialist and a local high school senior to create a St. Helens Police Department Trunk-or-Treat event. Community organizations hosted booths at the police station on Halloween with activities for young trick-or-treaters. Chief Moss and several officers attended the event and passed out candy, trading cards, and stickers from the trunk of a patrol car to over 300 families. The event was so successful, the Department plans to make Trunk-or-Treat an annual event.
Chief Moss also organizes and attends the annual St. Helens Police Department Donut Day food drive and fundraiser, which benefits the Columbia Pacific Food Bank. He personally schedules the music appearances, arranges for Dutch Bros Coffee to hand out coffee and cocoa, makes sure Santa and Mrs. Claus are at the station for holiday photos, and wakes up extremely early the day of the event to pick up and deliver the 700 dozen donuts to the station and to the other Columbia County police departments that participate in the annual event.
At the end of 2017, Chief Moss launched a St. Helens Police Department winter campaign where Santa Claus was sworn in as an honorary police officer during December and helped teach the community about the day-to-day work of St. Helens officers.
During the campaign, Chief Moss arranged for, and on several occasions accompanied, Officer Claus as he assisted Lewis and Clark grade schoolers with crosswalk duty, attended a youth bowling night for the Columbia County Chapter of the Autism Society of Oregon, visited a local day care, and held a classroom donut party for the third-grade winner of the St. Helens Police Department’s competition to design the cover of their 2018 Christmas card.