When the police chief in a community is placed on leave, the people of that community deserve a full explanation.
Sunriver Police Chief Marc Mills was placed on leave Sunday, according to a story by The Bulletin’s Kyle Spurr. Bend Police Capt. Cory Darling is going to step in as interim police chief. The Sunriver Service District said there is an investigation and provided no other details.
That is not good enough. Mills is the police chief. He plays a pivotal role in law enforcement. The public has a right to know what prompted the investigation, the content of the investigation and what, if any, action was taken.
There shouldn’t be any nonsense about concealing the matter with excuses. It’s all too common that public agencies insist that disclosure of details of investigations into public employees is not possible because it would violate privacy or violate personnel rules.
Government is the public’s business. The public is entitled to know how it functions or malfunctions and how taxpayer dollars are spent.
Mills used to work for the Deschutes Sheriff’s Office before taking the Sunriver job in 2012. Many people may wonder if this investigation is connected to the investigations and firings of some employees at the sheriff’s office.
Bend Police Chief Jim Porter said he was told by Sunriver that it is not related to the sheriff’s office. It’s related to work at Sunriver, he said. Porter was not told what incident or incidents prompted the investigation.
Mills deserves fair treatment. He may have done nothing wrong. But if it’s serious enough to prompt an investigation and have him placed on leave, the public must have full confidence that any allegation was treated seriously, the investigation was conducted correctly and any action was appropriate.