Brookings City Council confirmed Sgt. Kelby McCrae as Public Safety Director — police chief — to replace Chief Chris Wallace, who is retiring July 31.
McCrae was sworn in during Monday’s council meeting and will begin work in the new position Aug. 1, said City Manager Janell Howard. The Public Safety Director is the chief administrative officer for both the fire and police departments and serves as the police chief.
“He was an easy pick, very qualified,” said Brookings City Manager Janell Howard. “I highly recommended him to council; it’s really exciting.”
McCrae’s family came in from Eastern Oregon for the confirmation; others in attendance include the acting chief Donny Dotson, retired chiefs Curt Lunsford and Mike Cooper, and Sgt. Tyler McCourt and his family.
McCrae has a bachelor of science degree in education from Eastern Oregon University, a minor in military leadership and management, and holds a teaching credential. He is slated to finish his master’s degree in Justice Administration and Crime Management next month. And he has a supervisor certificate issued by the Oregon Department of Public Safety Standards and Training.
Prior to working for the city, McCrae was a teacher at Kalmiopsis Elementary School for four years. He also served with the Oregon Army National Guard for 22 years, work that included several deployments overseas’ he retired as a major in 2013.
For the past 15 years, he has worked with the city police department, of which the past eight he has served as sergeant.
McCrae’s resume outlines a career history of teaching students — including hearing-impaired and developmentally disabled — was requested each year by parents for to help with developing student responsibility, and was selected as a state trainer and evaluator for scoring of standardized math and writing.
In the National Guard, from 1991 to 2013, McCrae was responsible for coordinating the training needs of more than 2,000 soldiers, writing comprehensive operations orders outlining how a mission would be accomplished during training and deployments and commanding an infantry unit, then a cavalry unit, leading nearly 200 soldiers.
He joined the city police department in 2003 and has led and managed 10 officers and seven dispatchers since 2010, has garnered six grants for the department that purchased nine vehicle radar units and prioritizes “mission accomplishment” while maintaining employee well-being.
He was voted the city Employee of the Year in 2010.
As chief, McCrae will establish policy and procedures for his staff and the public, develop short- and long-term plans for the department and maintain a philosophy of ethics and integrity that guides public safety services for the city, the job description reads.
He will command operations of the department during emergencies, enforce all fire prevention codes and safety regulations, prepare and control the department’s budget, participate in professional development of his staff and meet with various officials to solve problems.
Additionally, he will provide support for city-wide committees and participate in workshops and conferences related to public safety services.