On Tuesday night, June 26, the City of St. Helens held a “Meet and Greet” with the top four candidates in the running for Chief of Police at the St. Helens Police Department (SHPD).
The four men, Brian Greenway, a Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department captain, Michael Lester, an assistant police chief in Vancouver, Washington, Scott Hewetson Sr., a Hillsboro Police Department lieutenant, and Joe Hogue, an SHPD lieutenant, each had the opportunity to make a short presentation on their qualifications and what they would bring to the SHPD.
More than 20 community members comprised of city councilors, city staff and SHPD employees were on hand to hear the presentations and rank each candidate on their speeches and interaction with the public. Those evaluations were given to the city council to consider in their deliberations while selecting a top candidate for chief.
The council’s decision for Chief of Police will be released pending criminal background checks.
With just under 30 years of police experience, Greenway has been with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department for the past 25 years, where he holds the rank of captain. Prior to that, he served three years in the U.S. Army, followed by working three years as an officer in his home state of Illinois for the Carpentersville Police Department.
Greenway has taken on a variety of assignments, including traffic training, robbery, narcotics and internal affairs. He was also the Incident Commander during the Mandalay Bay shooting in 2017.
“I think that I’m probably the best candidate because I don’t bring any bias into the city. I’m an outsider, and that’s actually the best thing because I’d have to learn the systems, learn about the people, make the contacts,” Greenway said. “I’m going to bring a rejuvenated policing approach. The first Tuesday of every month, I’m going to open up the police station and invite our citizens in. We’re going to give a 20-to-30-minute presentation on various topics throughout the year and then invite them to talk to us about their problems.”
Originally from La Grande, Oregon, Lester served three years in the U.S. Army before pursuing a career in law enforcement in his home town. He worked for the La Grande Police Department for just over three years before moving to the Vancouver Police Department, where he worked his way up through the ranks to Assistant Chief. During his career, he has worked investigations (including a serial rapist case with the homicide task force), property crimes, internal affairs, and was a sergeant over the Clarks Community Drug Task Force unit for five years. As a commander, he oversaw the patrol division at West Precinct, then “rolled into” Special Ops Commander over SWAT, K9, and the crisis negotiation team. He has now been Assistant Chief for almost five years.
When asked what he could bring to the SHPD, Lester cites his experience and background. “What I currently deal with, dealing with livability issues throughout the community and community policing – I think with my experience, my training, my background, I have a good perspective on how to run an organization,” Lester said.
Hogue has been with the SHPD for 20 years, and currently serves as a lieutenant. He worked as a detective for several years before promoting to sergeant, which he said was the equivalent of a shift supervisor, but that the SHPD was small enough that he could get involved in leadership and the direction the department was going in. At that time, he saw a problem in the recruiting process, so he started the department’s reserve academy.
In 2016, Hogue landed a coveted opportunity to attend the FBI National Academy, one afforded to less than one percent of officers nationwide.
“A lot of it’s about timing and where your agency’s at. Right now, we have a lot of officers with one to five years on, so that’s an incredible stage in their career where they’re starting to get more confident and they want to be challenged, and I want to bring a lot more leadership opportunities for them instead of just have one or two people do that,” Hogue said. “I’m going to push these people because they’re going to be just as good or better than me, anyway. I’m going to push them to do some of these programs and I think that accomplishes everything.”
Scott Hewetson Sr.
Hewetson is currently a lieutenant with the Hillsboro Police Department where he has worked for the past 21 years. He began his law enforcement career with the Honolulu Police Department in Hawaii where he grew up. After eight years there, with cost of living rising, he and his family decided to move to Oregon. He has worked as a detective, a patrol watch commander, worked youth services as an officer and eventually ran the program as a sergeant in 2011. From 2013 to 2016, he oversaw the department’s Office of Professional Standards, which he said is “very chief-like work.” Around that same time, Hewetson returned to school, finishing his degree at George Fox University in management and organizational leadership.
“Certainly, one of my skillsets would be the interpersonal piece. I am not one to be stuck in the office. I want to get out. I want to put on a uniform,” Hewetson said. “Walk up and down the main areas and just kind of be at the schools and meeting parents in uniform, just to kind of set that tone because it allows me to connect with the community and for them to connect with me in an informal way.”