Community driven officer promoted

Umbright is known for his connection with the city, local volunteer efforts



The newly promoted Sergeant Greg Umbright has been a member of the Pullman Police Department for 27 years.

ZARA CRUDEN, Evergreen reporter

Sgt. Greg Umbright has come to many people’s aid over the 27 years he has served as an officer for the Pullman Police Department. During that time he has accrued some unusual stories from working with the community.

He recounted one instance last fall when a woman said her skateboard was stolen, just before a week of nice weather. Umbright went to his house and returned with his own longboard, so the woman could take advantage of the weather until she got her board back.

PPD recently promoted Umbright to sergeant, filling the role of Sam Sorem, who retired in December. Umbright said he stood out as a candidate for sergeant because of his community policing and his connection with Pullman as a whole.

Investigators, like Umbright used to be, cannot hold the sergeant position. Because of this, he declined to take previously offered tests for the position.

“It’s been like 10 or 12 years since the last sergeant’s test,” Umbright said. “When they offered this one … I was like, ‘OK, I’ll test for sergeant this time,’ and got it.”

Umbright said he did not initially set out to become a cop, but fell into the profession. During his freshman year at University of Idaho, he hoped to get a job in forestry. Over time, he switched from forestry to electrical engineering and then settled on criminal justice.

“Once I got involved in it, it was easy for me to do and came pretty naturally,” Umbright said. “So I just kept at it. It’s been a while now.”

Umbright’s promotion to sergeant is not his only achievement. Penni Reavis, PPD support services manager, said he received an award for stopping traffic to make sure a family of ducks made it safely across the road.

Reavis also recalled how Umbright found a way to enjoy a flood watch. She said he stood in the river dressed in a snorkel and mask, grinning and holding a sign that read, “We’re OK.” When the water levels raised to Umbright’s chest, he flipped over the sign.

“Uh-oh,” the other side read.

He continues his work through off-duty community service. He has donated to Boost Collaborative, a non-profit that supports people with special needs and disabilities, and the Whitman County Humane Society’s annual Fur Ball fundraiser.

Umbright is now one of four sergeants at the Pullman Police Department. While he will take on more of a supervisory role, he will still be visible in the community.

“It’ll be a fun thing for me to do,” he said. “I get to still be out in the community as a police officer, but also assist the other guys on my shift so that they can do a good job too.”