After nearly 34 years of service to Eugene Police Department and the community, Chief Pete Kerns has announced he will retire in April or May 2017. He will remain on as EPD’s police chief until a new chief is hired.
“Law enforcement is a great career and I have absolutely loved it,” said Chief Kerns. “The work is fun, exciting, it can be maddening and is usually extremely rewarding. Our purpose and mission is honorable and the men and women who choose to work for EPD are some of the finest individuals anyone could ever hope to know. The job of police chief is very humbling and serving as EPD’s has been one of the greatest privileges of my life. When I was appointed as police chief, the charge was unambiguous: Build trust with our community. Every member of our department has worked to achieve this. There are countless examples of community partnerships, selfless collaboration and genuine compassion that have brought us to a place of perhaps the highest level of trust with our varied communities that I have seen during my time with EPD. I wish I could take credit for it, but that would all be rightly attributed to our division managers, police commanders, supervisors and staff.”
City Manager Jon Ruiz said, “In my nearly 30 years of local government experience, Pete is easily the best police chief I have had the pleasure to work with. Chief Kerns’ meritorious service has always been in keeping with the best traditions of the law enforcement community: professionalism, courage, caring and selfless service. His strength of character enables him to successfully balance compassion and justice; strength and humility; diplomacy and directness, all of which have served him well during a complex and challenging tenure as chief. I am honored to have served with Chief Kerns. I wish him well in a much deserved new chapter in life and I’m glad he is able to stay with us during the upcoming transition.”
Pete Kerns assumed duties as the Chief of Police for the Eugene Police Department in October, 2008. He has served the City of Eugene Police Department in a variety of disciplines since July 1983.
Chief Pete Kerns began his career as a reserve police officer in 1981, was hired as a full time officer in 1983, and subsequently worked as a patrol officer until he was promoted to agent in 1989. While in Patrol he was a member of the Special Weapons and Tactics Team, the Fatal Accident Investigations Team, the Defensive Instructors Team, and was one of the department’s Field Training Officers. He was assigned to the Property Crimes Unit in 1990, then transferred as a detective to the Lane County Interagency Narcotics Enforcement Team (INET) where he was promoted to sergeant in 1995 and supervised the interagency team. In 1999, he was promoted to lieutenant and served as the Eugene Police Department’s West Sector commander and as a watch commander. In 2003, he became the Special Operations Section’s commander in charge of the Special Weapons and Tactics Team (SWAT) and the Crowd Control Team, with responsibilities including management of the Explosive Disposal Unit, Crisis Negotiation Team, Firearms Program, Honor Guard, Traffic Enforcement Unit, School Resource Team, and Patrol K9 Team. Throughout his career, Chief Kerns has worked with community groups, neighborhoods and business associations to promote safety through problem oriented, neighborhood based community policing.