The intention to maintain law and order in the area known as Oregon dates back to the early 1800’s. Records indicate that Oregon Twp. Constable, Joe Miller, would meet new comers to the area and provide them with a document inviting them to continue on and leave the area. A new jail house was placed on the ballot for voters, along with a City Hall, sometime in 1861. The Town Hall was approved but the jail was soundly defeated with a popular vote of 42 being against the building of the structure and only 5 being for it. The jail was never built. [As stated in the "History of Oregon and Jerusalem" book by Josephine Fassett]
Oregon established its first municipal police department with the hiring of Chief Nelson Danforth in December of 1958. At the time, Chief Danforth was to be one of 27 full time employees for Oregon. Ordinance #18 in 1958, established a Police Department to consist of 12 officers and 7 dispatch personnel, to include a Chief, a Lieutenant, two (2) Sergeants and eight (8) patrolmen. By ordinance, an officer must serve as a patrolman in order to be a sergeant, and an officer had to be a sergeant in order to serve as a lieutenant. in March of 1959, Chief Danforth brought forth 7 names to the civil service commission to serve as Oregon’s first police force. They all assumed their duties on March 23 of that year. To meet their needs, the Oregon Council approved the purchase of three Police vehicles.
By 1965, the Oregon Police Officers were making a whopping $6,200.00 with top pay being $6,760.00.
In 1969, members of the Oregon Civil Service Commission were approached by women that were inquiring about the possibility of becoming Oregon Police Officers. It was the opinion of the commission, at that time, that a separate classification of Police Woman would have to be created and a separate Civil Service list be maintained for same.
In 1981, the city hired its first two female officers, Lauri Baker and Virginia Conner. Both of them retired after fruitful careers as command officers in the police division. The Oregon Police Division currently has three female officers serving as a supervisor, investigator, and DARE officer.
The Oregon Police Division in 1990 began to develop a group of trainers within the department to provide for internal training in the areas of firearms and defensive tactics. This has expanded over time to include certified instructors in Chemical Weapons, Less Lethal, Taser, Active Shooter, ALICE, Simunition, ASP collapsible baton, tactical driving, and rappelling.
Oregon’s 46 officers are paid slightly better today with the starting wage being $51,000.00/yr. and maxing out at just over $63,000.00. Our fleet of vehicles is slightly larger as well, with a total of 31 vehicles including 12 unmarked vehicles. A portion of our patrol fleet is replaced with new vehicles on an annual basis
Joining the Oregon Police Division in January 2012 was our ninth Chief of Police, Michael J. Navarre. Mike comes from the Toledo Police Department where he served in numerous positions working his way up the ranks for 34 years. Mike spent the last 13 years in Toledo as the Chief of Police.