RIDGEFIELD — Ridgefield’s newest police chief, John Brooks, has officially been on the job for three days now, and he said that one of his first goals will be to better understand the community and its needs.
“I also want to get to know the men and women in my command and their vision for the police force and how to serve the community,” Brooks said. “Ridgefield has a great police department that is very well regarded by the community. This didn’t happen by accident and I want to use their expertise to map a plan for the future.”
The city announced the hiring of Brooks on Sept. 27 after a “thorough interview process and and rigorous background investigation.” Ridgefield’s former police chief, Carrie Greene, retired from the position on May 6 after more than nine years with the city. Brooks will receive a salary of $105,000 per year.
Brooks, 52, is a graduate of Washington State University in Pullman where he received his degree in criminal justice. During his time at WSU, he was a reserve officer for the Pullman Police Department. After graduation, he was hired by the Portland Police Bureau, and attended the Oregon Police Academy in Monmouth, Ore., and the Portland Police Advanced Academy. In 2007, he attended and graduated from the DEA Drug Unit Commander Academy and from the FBI National Academy in 2012.
After being hired by the Portland Police Bureau in 1990, in addition to being an officer, Brooks moved through the ranks and served as a patrol officer, homicide detective, detective supervisor, sergeant, lieutenant and captain. He has also served as a supervisor for the Drugs and Vice division as well as Rapid Response Unit (Crowd Management/Control Unit) and the Hostage Negotiation Team.
“I served as Captain of the Records Division, Child and Family Services and retired from the Portland Police Bureau as the Captain of Professional Standards (Internal Investigation Division,” he said.
Although Brooks said he was eligible to retire from the Portland Police, he knew that he wanted to continue in police work.
“I have a real passion for leadership and mentoring,” Brooks said. “My personal goals have long included moving on to a smaller agency and using the skills I’ve developed through my career to help build strong leaders. Ridgefield is the perfect fit for me and my family. We have strong ties to Clark County and Ridgefield is an incredible community.”
Brooks and his wife of 26 years, Tricia Hart Brooks, started their family in north Portland where they lived for 10 years before moving across the river to Vancouver in 2000. They have lived in northwest Vancouver for the past 16 years, and Brooks said they have often considered a move to Ridgefield, which they will discuss more once their daughter, Maria, graduates from high school this year.
Brooks and his wife have four children — Alicia, 23, who lives between El Paso and Cuidad Jaurez, Mexico, where she serves with an international organization known as YWAM (Youth With A Mission); John Spenser, 20, who currently serves in the U.S. Navy as a Corpsman, a field medic for the Marines; Maria, 17, who is currently in high school and is also a full-time Running Start student at Clark College and will graduate this year with both her high school diploma and associate degree; and Alexandra, 5, who just started kindergarten this year.
Brooks was born in Waukegan, Ill., and moved to the Seattle area in sixth grade. He graduated from Kentridge High School in Kent, and then enlisted in the U.S. Navy and was a navigator for a guided missile cruiser. He remained in the Naval Reserve until 1991.
In a news release from the city of Ridgefield, City Manager Steve Stuart said he was happy with the city’s choice to hire Brooks.
“Our thorough interview process and rigorous background investigation confirmed that Brooks is the right choice for Ridgefield,” Stuart said. “He has a solid law enforcement background, a high-energy engaged and collaborative leadership style and the vision to plan for the future needs of our growing city while maintaining high levels of service.”
Brooks said biking is something he enjoys doing in his spare time, as he commuted to Portland by bicycle for several years. He also enjoys snowboarding and visiting National Parks with his family.
“I have also spent summers working at the Union Gospel Mission and teach policing in Haiti to the Haitian National Police through Responder Life,” Brooks said. “I might slow down on that front for a bit while I dig into my new job, except when I sneak up to Mt. Hood for a day in the snow. I am also active in Real Life Community Church.”
The city of Ridgefield will hold a community welcoming reception for Brooks on Wed., Oct. 12, 5-6:30 p.m., at the Ridgefield Community Center, 210 N. Main Ave., Ridgefield. The reception will include an official swearing-in ceremony and provide an opportunity for citizens to meet the new police chief. Members of the public are invited to attend.