Last month, the West Linn Police Department introduced two new members to its ranks in Officer Cody Tadlock and Reserve Officer Stephanie Barnhart-Herro.
One more officer joined the department's ranks April 24, as a swearing-in ceremony was held for Officer Matthew Grover — a nine-year veteran of the Los Angeles Police Department, where he was a sergeant.
"He brings a tremendous wealth of experience with him," Police Captain Neil Hennelly said. "He worked in the chief's office (at LAPD), he worked gangs for a long time ... he's just a sharp, good guy. He's been here since (April 24) and he's already fitting in pretty well."
Grover grew up in Cottage Grove, Oregon, and the move was in part so that he could be closer to family. His father, Mike Grover, served as police chief in Cottage Grove before retiring in 2015. Hennelly said that, in an ironic twist, Mike Grover was his first sergeant when he worked in Cottage Grove earlier in his career.
"I learned how to do the job from his dad, so we share a mentor," Hennelly said.
As an out-of-state hire, Grover will be required to attend a two-week training course on Oregon law at the Salem Police Academy.
Meanwhile, the department is close to being fully staffed. According to Hennelly, one more new officer — a former deputy at the Washington County Sheriff's Office — is expected to come on soon. And more openings are expected shortly thereafter.
"We have a couple other retirements on the horizon," he said. "So we're going to 'overhire' one of our reserves. Overhire is when we don't have a current opening, but we know we're going to have one soon."
Reserve officers are akin to volunteer firefighters, according to Hennelly. They attend training academy sessions for several months before completing a field training program, and often ride as the second officer in patrol cars. Reserve officers have the same authority as regular officers.