Former Stayton Police Chief looks back on rewarding career
By Mary Owen Stayton’s newly resigned police chief is taking a little time off, but plans to stay in the area. “I grew up in Northwest Washington and moved to Oregon in the late ‘80s to attend college where I met my wife, Carole,” Rich Sebens said. “After college and earning a bachelor’s in management and communications and an associate of science degree in fire science technology, I worked in the medical field for several years.” While working in kidney dialysis, Sebens began volunteering as a reserve officer with the Stayton Police Department, and, he said, “fell in love with the career.” In 1999, Sebens was hired as a fulltime patrol officer under Chief Don Eubank, who became his mentor. During the next two decades, he worked as a school resource officer, patrol sergeant, lieutenant, and in 2008 was promoted to police chief
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“While working here, I was able to see many changes in law enforcement, especially in the world of technology,” Sebens said. “We went from hand-written paper reports and DOS computers to fully computerized with computer-aided dispatching in the cars. We saw the addition of tasers and body cams.”
was a young man who had been living in a bad situation when I was a school resource officer, and whom I was able to help. He was now living in Portland, had a young family, and was in a successful career.” While at SPD, Sebens was able to get the public indecency law changed at the state lever after finding a loophole from a case that happened in Stayton.
But the biggest change – and challenge – he said he saw over the years was “the increase in mental illness or the awareness of it with very limited resources for dealing with it.” “Sadly, I see this issue continuing for years to come,” he said. “As always, funding is an issue as well and will continue to be an issue as tax revenue pretty much has stayed the same, but costs continue to rise.” Former Chief Eubank taught Sebens that police work is not about equipment or the number of arrests made, he said. “Its about relationship building with the community,” he said. “The most rewarding part of my career was being able to help
“Most of all though, I’m proud of the police department staff we had,” he said. “Myself, Captain Charlie Button as well as all the staff took pride, striving to be the best agency we could be and working toward our motto of ‘walking with the broken’.’” Former Stayton Police Chief Rich Sebens
victims, especially domestic violence and abuse victims, and having them come back later and see them doing well. “I will never forget a young man who saw me in Salem when I was not working come up to me and said, ‘Are you Officer Rich! Remember me!!!,’” he added. “It
Sebens thanks members of the Stayton community for supporting him and allowing him to serve for the past 20 years. “I will never forget the relationships and friendships I have gained over the years while here,” he said. Sebens said next he will seek a job connected with public safety either in the public or private sectors.
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