Rich Riffle plans to move to Scappoose

Rich Riffle said he will step down as Adair Village police chief effective Feb. 28 because he is moving to Scappoose to spend more time with family.

“I’ve had a good run. This is like a new chapter in my life,” Riffle said.

The move came as no surprise, said City Administrator Drew Foster. Riffle, a Benton County Sheriff’s Office deputy for 25 years, is essentially re-retiring.

He came out of retirement to take the part-time position in October 2011, after serving as a consultant to review the city’s police department efforts.

The department was built from scratch in 2009, after residents of this town of 840 people said they wanted their own police force.

“Rich has really laid out a good foundation for us to move forward on,” Foster said.

That includes developing a growing reserve program, which now has five officers; creating a city position dedicated to code compliance; and putting in place community services such as a Neighborhood Watch, Foster said.

Riffle’s personality also was a good fit for Adair Village, Foster added.

“He had an approach to solving problems, rather than handing out tickets,” Foster said.

Riffle said that was the best way to handle law enforcement in the small town.

“If there’s a neighborhood dispute, you try to resolve the dispute instead of making an arrest,” Riffle said.

He added that he also put a stop to heavy patrols on Highway 99W, because he didn’t want the department to appear Draconian.

Adair Village will begin advertising for a part-time police chief immediately, Foster said.

The last time the chief position was posted, it initially was listed as a full-time position. Due to budget cuts, that changed to a part-time spot while the city was reviewing candidates.

“We have no idea what response we’ll get this time around,” Foster said.

By the end of March, however, the city wants to have a new chief in place.

Foster said he hopes that the city will see some growth so that a full-time chief eventually can be hired.

The city sought to form a police department, in part, as a precursor to a projected population boom. But a planned 500-house subdivision fell apart due to the economic downturn, and growth has been stagnant.

In the past six years, only two houses have been built in Adair Village, Foster said.

The Adair Village Police Department’s first chief, Justin Jones, resigned in January 2011 amid allegations of misconduct and abuse of city funds. The Oregon Department of Justice launched an investigation into the claims and found that the conduct was not criminal. Jones surrendered his law enforcement certifications in July 2011.

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