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New Central Point chief rose through the ranks

Kris Allison might be the first female chief of the Central Point Police Department, but she is more proud of the path she took to the job.

"I promoted my way through the ranks," Allison said. "I started here as a patrol officer and worked my way up to where I am now."

Allison, 39, was sworn in Thursday in front of a packed house at Central Point City Hall.

The crowd seeped out into the hallway and was heavy in law enforcement personnel from across the Rogue Valley.

"You never think you're going to end up the chief of a police department when you start out," Allison said. "You spend you first several years on the job trying to master your craft and learn as much as you can."

However, Allison found that her career trajectory was taking on a life of its own as she bumped up ranks throughout the years.

"Whenever patrol officers come into my office, I can say that I have been exactly where they are," she said. "I think that is important for morale."

Her career kicked off in 1992, when she was a cadet with Oregon State Police. Two years later she was hired by the Phoenix Police Department. From there she spent two years as a patrol officer in Lincoln City, before finally landing back home in Central Point in 1998.

Allison, who attended Crater High School in Central Point, said it was fitting she take the reigns of her hometown department.

"I'm a Central Point girl, born and raised," she said.

After leaving patrol, Allison moved into detective work, where she tracked down some of the area's most violent criminals.

She also spent years investigating crimes against children, among the most draining and emotionally taxing work an officer can perform.

One of her most rewarding cases involved reuniting a troubled teen with her estranged mother.

"We thought the worst for this girl and when we were able to track her down and call her mother to tell her daughter was still alive, it was very rewarding," Allison said.

In the meantime, Allison took a position as the vice president of the Oregon Homicide Investigators Association and serves on the board of the Southern Oregon Financial Fraud and Securities Team.

One of the challenges the department sees in the coming years is Central Point's inevitable growth after the recession fades into memory.

"Our town will get bigger and we will have to respond to that," she said.

She also is looking at places in town to create police substations to respond to calls more quickly.

Allison has a criminal justice degree from Southern Oregon University and is an adjunct instructor at SOU in the Criminal Justice Department.

She also has a Master's degree from Boston University and is a graduate from the FBI National Academy. In addition, she has a graduate certificate from the University of Virginia.

She is married to Oregon State Police Sgt. Jeff Allison and the couple have two young daughters.

Reach reporter Chris Conrad at 541-776-4471; or email cconrad@mailtribune.com.

Kris Allison was sworn is Thursday as the new chief of the Central Point Police Department. She was accompanied at the podium by her husband Oregon State Police Sgt. Jeff Allison and daughters Allie and Josie. Mail Tribune / Jamie Lusch - Jamie Lusch