A career in service

Bressler retires after 33 years in law enforcement, 15 with Lebanon police

By Sarah Brown
Lebanon Local
Lt. Scott Bressler announced his retired from the Lebanon Police Department last month after serving 33 years in law enforcement.
Bressler served Lebanon for nearly 15 years during his career. He will remain on the force for a brief period to train his replacement, Detective Sergeant Ryan Padua.
Bressler has been active in community service projects throughout Lebanon, assisting year-round events such as Walk A Mile For A Child, Strawberry Festival, National Night Out, 9/11 memorials, Halloween, and the Christmas parade.
Bressler said he felt like now was the right time to retire, especially considering the increasing unrest in the United States toward law enforcement. He plans to spend time with his family and enjoy being a grandfather, but he might consider taking up work as a private investigator for insurance companies.
Bressler was born in Corvallis to a father who worked for a lumber company and a mother who worked at Oregon State University. The family moved to California when his father was transferred, but they returned to Corvallis after his dad was offered a job on a road crew.
After high school, Bressler was working as a gas station attendant when some friends who worked in law enforcement encouraged him to follow in their path.
What appealed to him was the idea that he could help people, he said.

LT. SCOTT BRESSLER patrols downtown Lebanon during a 2018 Halloween event. (File photo)

“That’s a cliché, I think, but you get to know the community and you want to help out,” Bressler said.
He started as a reserve officer in August 1988 for Benton County, then was hired full-time in 1990 as deputy sheriff. Lebanon Police Department recruited Bressler in Dec. 2006; he was promoted to sergeant in 2008, and to lieutenant in 2014.
During his tenure at Lebanon, Bressler has served as a patrol officer, motors officer, drug recognition expert, SWAT team member, multi-agency narcotic team member, patrol sergeant and lieutenant.
In 2008, Bressler received the Medal of Valor for going above and beyond the call of duty, which resulted in the rescue of a person in medical distress and saving a life.
On April 2, Bressler responded to a report about a reckless or impaired driver near Wagon Wheel Drive and South Main Road.
He couldn’t find the driver, but instead of clearing the call as “unable to locate,” Bressler continued to investigate and, having done so, found the car parked in a driveway. He knocked on the residence, and a 75-year-old woman answered the door.
The citation of valor explains what happened next.
“It was immediately apparent to Officer Bressler that this woman was in medical duress and in need of immediate medical attention. She was disoriented, hot-to-the-touch and unable to speak. He promptly assisted her to a sitting position and requested immediate dispatch of medics to his location. Through further assessment of the victim, Officer Bressler was able to determine that she was wearing a medical bracelet indicating she was a diabetic patient.
“Medics on scene were able to determine that the victim was suffering from severe diabetic shock and successfully treated her condition. Based upon the initial information given to the dispatcher, Officer Bressler’s actions in this investigation were clearly above-and-beyond the level of attention generally given for this type of call.
“The 75-year-old female victim in this case desperately needed medical attention; however, she was not able to make that determination, due to the severity of her condition. Had it not been for the quick actions of Officer Bressler and his diligence in this investigation, it is likely she would not have survived this episode.”
One of the more important instances in his career happened when his friend was killed by a drunk driver in the 1990s.
“So I started taking on DUIs,” he said. “I arrested over 100 in my first year. I was just kind of passionate for going out and finding drunk drivers.”

Bressler poses for a photo while assisting a Walk A Mile For A Child event. Photo courtesy of Scott Bressler

In 33 years, Bressler has had to attempt CPR and life-saving techniques on people “plenty of times,” and that kind of service doesn’t stop when officers punch out for the day.
One day, when Bressler was off duty, he came across a car that had run across a culvert and caught fire. With help from other bystanders, Bressler extricated two people from the car and performed CPR until medics arrived.
The victims didn’t make it. Though it’s distressing to see so many accidents and the resulting injuries in his lifetime, Bressler had to learn to have the right mental attitude for the work, and to not take it home. But when young kids die, that really bothers him, he said.
When asked what he thinks is the biggest problem in Lebanon, he agreed that the area has its share of child abuse, but it’s the legalization of marijuana and user amounts of meth and other drugs that stir problems up in town, he said.
“There’s overdoses, there’s theft of property,” he explained. “People are stealing stuff to get their fix.”
Now that NARCAN has been made available these past couple years, officers are often saving lives of those who overdose, Bressler said. As for marijuana, he leans toward the camp that it should not be legalized.
“I can’t agree with it because it does lead to DUIs, crashes, people losing everything they have, people selling stuff that they steal to get their next marijuana,” he said. “It’s a gateway drug to other things, in my opinion.”
But Bressler said Lebanon is a great community.
“It’s one of the best places I worked,” he said. “The people are all great.”
Being part of the community and sharing respect with others has been an important part of his career, and he’s met a lot of great people, he said.
“I think it’s a community thing for me,” he said. “If I help the community out, they see the police department in a different light, a better light than we’re not just out there arresting people and beating them up. I just want them to see the other side of it.”
What it comes down to is to get to know people, treat them with respect, and you will get that respect back, he said.
Bressler’s number one advice to the community is “please don’t drink and drive. Always call somebody. It’s not worth it. Never has been. Never will be.”
But following that, Bressler has one more piece of advice: “Just be nice to each other.”