JOHN DAY - Personnel changes continue at the John Day Police Department.

Former Grant County Sheriff's Deputy Richard Gray began working for the department Aug. 6 as a patrolman, filling the position vacated when Rich Tirico was promoted to chief of police, and at the Aug. 10, meeting of the City Council, patrolman Cody Weaver submitted his resignation.

Weaver, who has been a patrolman with the department for four years, will be going to work as a trooper for the Oregon State Police.

Weaver indicated in his resignation letter to the council: "I tested for the Oregon State Police back in March 2004 and have been going through the hiring process. On July 22, I was offered a position pending a physical and psychological test. I have completed these required items and will be leaving for the Oregon State Police Academy on Sept. 1."

The academy lasts 16 weeks. Upon graduation, Weaver will be assigned as a recruit trooper in John Day.

Mayor Roger Simonsen praised Weaver's work as a member of the department.

"I understand this was a career-goal for you to become a state trooper and I understand your reasons for leaving. I think this is a great opportunity for you," he said. "We are all very proud of you."

Weaver's last day of work was Aug. 12. He will be taking vacation time until Aug. 31, which will be his final day of employment with the city.

Weaver's resignation created somewhat of a dilemma as he is the department's K-9 officer.

Charlie the police dog is technically the property of the city, having been purchased and trained with donated funds, but Weaver is the only officer on the department trained in handling the animal.

Chief Tirico said it would cost the department between $2,500 to $3,500 to train Charlie with another officer.

"Right now, we don't have that kind of money in the budget," Tirico said. "Maybe sometime later down the road department we'll have the funds to obtain another drug dog. Jim Damon, who donated the dog, said he's happy with the results and has no problem with us giving the dog to Cody."

After some discussion, Council member Chris Labhart made the motion to give Weaver complete custody of the dog, which would be retired from service.

Labhart's motion received unanimous approval.

"Charlie has become a member of your family and I'm glad that we are able to give him to you," City Manager Peggy Carey commented.

Danny Komning, who interviewed for the patrolman's position at the same time Gray did, has been hired and will begin work Sept. 1.

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