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Retired LCSO sergeant volunteers as new chaplain at SHPD


June 21, 2016

KEVIN GREENE, a retired sergeant from the Linn County Sheriff’s Office, is now serving as volunteer chaplain for Sweet Home Police Department.

As a former Sheriff’s sergeant, new Sweet Home Police Department Chaplain Kevin Greene brings a broader range of experience to the job than might be typically expected from a local minister stepping into the role.

SHPD announced Greene’s appointment on May 9, though Greene responded to his first call, a death investigation, with the department a couple of weeks before that.

It’s been at least 20 years since SHPD has had a chaplain, said Chief Jeff Lynn. “Others have talked to us about it in the past. Recently, Kevin Greene approached and was interested in getting this kind of program started in Sweet Home.”

Greene has always had a close connection to SHPD because he lived in Sweet Home and often worked out of the department’s building.

Lynn said the new chaplain is a good fit for the department, and he’s a resource for employees and on calls. The program is in its infancy, and department staff, Greene and a local pastor are still developing the program, deciding what works best for the agency and community.

Greene, 57, grew up in Albany and graduated from South Albany High School in 1977. He served three years in the U.S. Marine Corps in San Diego before returning home and going to work in 1982 as a marine patrol deputy with the Linn County Sheriff’s Office.

In fall 1983, LCSO hired him as a full-time deputy. He was promoted to sergeant, and then he became Sweet Home resident sergeant in 1993. He served the Sweet Home community for 13 years then transferred back to Albany as shift supervisor.

He finished his career as detective first sergeant and retired from service with LCSO in 2009.

Since retirement, he has enjoyed serving his community and church, Cornerstone Fellowship, along with a bit of fishing between “Honey Do” tasks.

Greene and his wife, Wanelle, have four children, including adults Kendra, Jordanne and Holden, and 16-year-old Braden, all of whom grew up in Sweet Home.

“I am so thankful for the opportunity to serve the men and women of the Sweet Home Police Department and the community of Sweet Home,” he said. “My prayer is that I can serve those who have suffered trauma in their lives, specifically the members of the Sweet Home Police Department as well as the citizens of Sweet Home.

“I look forward to meeting with members of the community and leaders in Sweet Home to see how I can better serve and be of use. I would also like to thank Chief Jeff Lynn for his openness and vision to put into place a program that will benefit our Police Department and community.”

Greene said he began thinking about the chaplaincy while attending a Christian men’s retreat in the Columbia River Gorge. He talked with a pastor serving as chaplain at Woodburn Police Department about what he does there.

“I thought, that sounds like something I ought to look into,” Greene said. On his return from the trip, he contacted Sgt. Jason Ogden about it. Ogden told him they should see what the chief had to say about the idea.

Greene said he’s already had some training, but he has additional training left to earn his certification from the International Conference of Police Chaplains and Public Safety Chaplains, a statewide organization. Both provide training recommended for police chaplains.

“My goal is to support the men and women of the Police Department first,” Greene said. His second priority is to serve the citizens. He can talk with people and find resources to help officers when their hands are full during an investigation.

As a retired supervisor, he said, he has to fight an instinct to supervise, and keep his mouth shut; but he can also answer questions officers may have and give advice if they ask him.

“I feel like I really get along well here,” Greene said. “I was really close to the folks here. I lived in Sweet Home. I really cared about what happened here in the City of Sweet Home as well. They’re really an extraordinary group of men and women here.”

He said he felt called to the position.

Greene became a Christian in 1998 while going through difficult times personally, he said. Going through a divorce, he talked frequently with Steve McGuire, then pastor at Community Chapel and now pastor at Valley Life Church in Lebanon.

McGuire helped lead him to faith in Jesus Christ, Greene said. Before this, Greene had a minimal familiarity with the Bible.

He had some background, but he never really knew he needed Jesus Christ, he said. He did not understand what Jesus’ identity meant. He thought of Jesus Christ as a Ghandi-like figure.

“I was taking a lot of people’s word for it,” Greene said.

His conversion helped him handle things the following year when his work schedule got much tougher and his father died, he said.

“As tough as that was, it helps me to counsel other people. I kind of learned you need to have somebody you trust to talk through the traumas in life.”

That’s where he found the inspiration to become a police chaplain.

His faith helped him through difficult times, he said, but it would have been nice to have someone to talk to while he was working at LCSO. Since then, the Sheriff’s Office has added a chaplain.

“I plan on spending time in their world,” Greene said. He’s riding along with officers and getting to know them. “I see myself as someone they can trust, they can talk to (confidentially).”

On traumatic scenes, he can handle some of the things officers need, helping victims and victims’ families understand what’s going on while an officer conducts his or her investigation. He can help with the children and help connect people to resources they may need.

“I want to bring my faith to bear when it’s allowed and help people,” Greene said. “I think I have some skills to bring when dealing with trauma.”


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