The Sunriver Service District Managing Board placed Police Chief Marc Mills on paid administrative leave but won’t say what prompted the action.

Board Administrator Debra Baker said Mills was placed on leave Sunday, pending an investigation. The board met in executive session Tuesday to further discuss the issue, Baker said.

“The board met this morning in executive session and the investigation is continuing,” Baker said.

The board’s next public meeting is 3 p.m. Dec. 14 in the Sunriver fire station training room.

Bend Police has agreed to assign Capt. Cory Darling to fill in as the interim Sunriver police chief, Baker said. Police agencies often assist each other in criminal investigations and — in this case — administrative issues, she said.

“I’m not sure how long we will get his service, but for the short term we have it covered,” Baker said.

Darling has worked with Bend Police for 27 years, most recently as the support services division commander, according to Bend Police Chief Jim Porter.

Darling has served as a patrol team supervisor, narcotics investigator, SWAT team member and leader, patrol officer, traffic team officer and commander of the patrol division.

“He is (a) highly qualified and respected public safety leader,” Porter said.

Mills was selected to take over as Sunriver police chief in May 2012, after the board fired former chief Michael Kennedy, who the board said at the time was poorly suited to take on a planned expansion of public relations efforts.

Mills’ current annual salary is $105,882.

Before being named police chief, Mills was a captain with the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office where he worked for 38 years.

Sunriver Police patrols a 5.1-square-mile area, which includes 65 miles of roadways and 35 miles of pathways.

There are about 1,700 full-time residents in Sunriver, which grows to 15,000 to 25,000 people in the summer, according to the police department.

A year into his tenure in Sunriver, Mills told the Bulletin his position reminded him of when he first started out with the sheriff’s office in the mid-1970s — when the county wasn’t much bigger than present-day Sunriver.

But Mills acknowledged how busy the summer tourist season in Sunriver can be, and urged his bike patrol officers to slow down and offer their services to any visitors who appear lost or just engage people in conversation.

“When you come back in, I’m not interested in how tired your body is or how worn your tires are,” Mills said in 2013. “I want your lips, your mouth, your tongue worn out from talking to people.”

— Reporter: 541-617-7820, kspurr@bendbulletin.com

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