Newport City Clerk Recorder Peggy Hawker, by direction of the city council, swore in a new addition to the Newport Police Department, Jon Humphreys, a family man from the Rogue River Valley of Oregon.
Police Chief Mark Miranda told the council that Humphreys will make a good police officer and that his first assignment will be to leave for police boot camp, or DPSST as it’s called near Salem, where he will be trained to be a professional law enforcement officer. He’ll then return to Newport where he will undergo continued in-field training with the Newport Police Department. Chief Miranda says it’ll be toward the end of summer or early fall before he’ll be qualified to go out on the street on his own.
City Clerk Recorder Peggy Hawker also re-swore a veteran member of the Newport Police Department – now Sergeant Brent Gainer. Being promoted to sergeant puts him in a front line supervisory position with the department. Chief Miranda said Gainer has served 15 years with the department with professionalism and distinction – most recently being the lead investigator in the now infamous April Loper case in which, against all odds, produced sufficient evidence to help convict Thomas Acosta, accused of sexually abusing Loper despite the fact she could not testify against him because she had just earlier been killed in a car wreck. The law says that an accused person has the right to confront his or her accuser, which obviously wasn’t possible in this case. Acosta’s attorney, Guy Greco, asked the judge to drop the charges but the judge gave investigators, including RPD Officer Brent Gainer, more time to come up with evidence that could be admissible in court and have a chance of convincing a jury that what was alleged to have happened, happened beyond a reasonable doubt.
And Gainer gathered and organized that evidence from April’s friends, medical personnel, other law enforcement, family members and others. After a grueling trial, the jury found Acosta guilty of sexual assault among other charges. Acosta was sent to prison for eight years.
Gainer fills one of two open sergeant slots with the department. Chief Mark Miranda says he will likely fill that slot by promoting one of two Newport officers deemed qualified to rise into the rank of sergeant.