ADAIR VILLAGE — Since February 2009, Chief Justin Jones has been laying the groundwork for a new police department in this growing community of 900.
The former Monmouth Police Department sergeant now has his first full-time officer, Aaron Mollahan, a former reserve who recently completed 16 weeks of training at the state police academy.
“My goal was to have an officer within two years. Plus, we have three reserves and two code enforcement officers training at the academy,” Jones said. “We have two more recruits who will start training later this year.”
From July to December 2009, the department fielded 350 calls, Jones said, ranging from thefts and drugs to barking dogs.
“Now, people are starting to report things they didn’t before,” Jones said. “I think that’s because of the one-on-one contacts we’ve made.”
Jones plans to work a 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. shift Tuesday through Friday and Mollahan will cover from 2 p.m. to midnight Wednesday through Saturday.
“When we get our reserves back, and after they have trained with us, they will augment our coverage,” Jones said.
Reserves are expected to work at least 34 hours per month, 10 of which are assigned by the chief. They earn training credits for the assigned hours, which can be used to supplement their resumés. Reserves range in age from 21 to 30, Jones said.
Until Jones came to town, law enforcement for Adair Village was provided by the Benton County Sheriff’s Office, which continues to assist when Jones or Mollahan are off duty.
Jones predicts that once the economy turns, Adair Village will resume steady growth.
“In the next three to five years, I think we’re going to need one to two more officers,” he said.
Jones graduated from Redmond High School in 1989 and earned a degree in criminal science from Western Oregon University in 1992. Jones’ wife, Tina, teaches first grade at the Santiam Christian School in Adair. They have two children.
Mollahan is a Corvallis native and 1999 Crescent Valley High School graduate. He has attended Linn-
Benton Community College off and on for nine years and will soon complete degrees in criminal justice and general education.
The two agree that most members of the community have been welcoming, although a few have been wary that the department might be ticket-oriented.
“I believe in enforcement by cooperation,” Jones said. “We’re not here to fine people.”
Jones and Mollahan work out of a single room in City Hall, along with a storage area. “My goal is to get us into a building of our own,” Jones said.
If Jones isn’t on duty to answer calls from the public, he is notified by text message on his cellular phone.
The Santiam dispatch center in Stayton will soon handle calls for the department. In time, as the department grows, Jones said he hopes to contract with the Benton County dispatch center.
Both men agree that starting a police department from scratch helped lure them to their positions.