Longtime Nyssa Police Chief Ray Rau will leave the city for a new position in Tillamook. (The Enterprise/FILE).

NYSSA - Police Chief Raymond Rau will be leaving Nyssa at the end of July to become the next police chief of Tillamook.

Rau, who’s been the police chief in Nyssa for nine years, has split time between the two towns since becoming Tillamook’s interim chief April 23. Rau said he’s been flying from Boise to Tillamook on Sundays to work before flying back on Wednesdays to serve in Nyssa.

Rau officially became the permanent police chief of Tillamook July 1 but will be in Nyssa until July 30 to ensure a smooth transition. 

Tillamook announced Rau as its next chief at a June 7 city council meeting and Nyssa city officials anticipated formally announcing the change at the Nyssa City Council session Tuesday, July 13.

Nyssa Police Department Lt. Donnie Ballou Jr. will be sworn in as the interim police chief August 1, before becoming the permanent police chief August 10. 

In an interview with the Enterprise, Rau said that he’s been training Ballou since 2016 to become the next chief. Ballou is a graduate of Nyssa High School who has worked for the department for 23 years. 

“He’s the opposite of me. He's very even-keeled. I’m much more emotional,” said Rau, laughing. 

Rau went to Tillamook in April as part of an Oregon Association Chiefs of Police leadership assistance program. 

Rau previously participated in the program that helps link experienced law enforcement leaders with police departments in need of a temporary police chief. 

Rau, who initially planned on staying for a month, said that he never went to Tillamook looking for a job but that “God opened a lot of doors for me to go there.” 

Nyssa Mayor Betty Holcomb said Rau told her that he was leaving for Tillamook about three weeks ago.

“You get put in positions where you’re strongly needed. It was a hard conversation but we've always been honest with each other,” said Rau. 

Rau is from Elgin, Ore. and prior to coming to Nyssa he spent eight years at the Department of Public Safety Standards and Training in Salem as a captain.

When Rau came to Nyssa in 2012, the department was on its fifth police chief in six years. Holcomb, who grew emotional talking about Rau’s departure, said Rau did a lot for the community in those nine years. 

“Ray leads by example and he wouldn’t ask officers to do anything he wouldn’t,” said Holcomb. “He works long shifts, holidays, weekends — all to help his officers and make sure they can have more time off.”

Rau was elected to the Nyssa School Board in May and he plans to fulfill his obligations on the board until his house is sold and he fully moves to Tillamook. 

Rau said he was planning on retiring in Nyssa next year and that Tillamook, which has a much larger police department, will allow for less demanding hours. 

“We want to build what we did in Nyssa in Tillamook,” said Rau.

News tip? Contact reporter Joey Cappelletti at [email protected] or 616-610-3093.

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