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Former Nyssa police chief booked on criminal charges, remains on leave

After 26 years as a police officer, Ray Rau, the former Nyssa police chief, was booked himself last week after his first court appearance on charges he stole evidence.

Rau was processed at the Tillamook County Jail and released on conditions that prohibit him from working in law enforcement while his case is pending.

He served as Nyssa police chief from 2012 to 2021, when he left to become chief of the Tillamook Police Department.

In August, Rau was charged with two counts of first-degree official misconduct, one count of second-degree theft, and one count of third-degree theft. The charges are misdemeanors.

Rau is charged with taking a controlled substance from the Tillamook department’s evidence locker on two occasions between Oct. 1, 2021, and April 8, 2023. He is accused of taking at least $100 in cash belonging to someone else between Oct. 1, 2021, and May 8, 2023.

He has been on leave from his city job since May 9, 2023, and remains on paid administrative leave, according to Tillamook City Manager Nathan George.

George refused to release the letter placing Rau on leave, contending it was part of disciplinary record that is confidential.

Tillamook County District Attorney Aubrey Olson appointed an assistant attorney general as a special prosecutor.

“This week, it came to light that Chief Ray Rau of the Tillamook Police Department has allegedly mishandled evidence being stored in its evidence room. He has been placed on leave and the Oregon State Police Major Crimes Team is investigating,” Olson wrote in a May 11 email seeking help from the state Justice Department.

The Justice Department released the message in response to a public records request from the Enterprise. The agency declined to release any other records.

Rau, 56, appeared in Tillamook County Circuit Court on Wednesday, Sept. 27, for his initial appearance. He did not enter a plea but was ordered to surrender at the county jail for booking by 5 p.m. that day. He complied, according to the Tillamook County Sheriff’s Office.

He was ordered not to work in law enforcement or volunteer at any public agency, according to the conditions for his release. He also was ordered to have no contact with one victim named in the charges or with the Tillamook Police Department.

He is scheduled to return for another court hearing on Nov. 29.

The charges follow an audit of the city’s evidence locker that found evidence missing in cases dating back to 2005.

Olson earlier this year told the Tillamook Headlight Herald newspaper that she has moved to dismiss some pending criminal cases and set aside convictions in others.

Olson has refused to identify the cases and has yet to provide public records sought by the Enterprise four weeks ago about those cases. Olson said she was short staffed.

She also has not released records about arrangements for Rau to surrender on the charges. His first court appearance occurred nearly a month after he was charged.

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