When Oregon Police Department interim chief Jennifer Pagenkopf unveiled her 60 day plan for running the department in February, COVID-19 wasn’t on her radar – or anyone else in the village.
Most delays in implementing that plan are because of the illness, Pagenkopf said in a report to the Oregon Village Board.
Some immediate goals Pagenkopf listed included her continued efforts to strengthen the department’s relationship with the Oregon School District and restoring the department’s image with the community. Because of the illness, Pagenkopf has not been able to meet anyone in person — that was supposed to include staff from OregonCARES and attending a Diversity and Inclusion Council meeting.
But she said she attended an Optimist Club meeting on March 5 and is now a member. She also attended several Dane County Chief meetings and one Oregon Housing Coalition meeting via Zoom teleconferencing software.
A School Resource Officer workshop meeting scheduled for April 14 had to be rescheduled to June, she said.
Strengthening community relations was one of the top goals Uhl had when he was hired in 2015, with the department having been rocked by scandal under former police chief Doug Pettit. A later successor, Brian Uhl came under village scrutiny for his behavior and comments last fall.
Pagenkopf’s long term goals included hiring an OPD mental health officer and working with the village’s new Advisory Council on Diversity and Inclusion. That was contingent upon whom the police commission hires for permanent chief. Since the village decided against recommending Pagenkopf to the commission at its Monday, April 20, meeting, it is unclear when the commission will reconvene.