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Springfield residents 'not surprised' by police chief investigation

This comes after a string of controversies tied to the department in recent years.

Posted: Mar 30, 2021 3:16 PM
Updated: Mar 30, 2021 6:48 PM

SPRINGFIELD, Ore. -- The investigation into Springfield Police Chief Richard Lewis isn't surprising, Springfield residents say.

City Administrator Nancy Newton announced on Monday that Lewis had been placed on paid administrative leave.

This comes after a string of controversies tied to the department in recent years, from investigations into officers, lawsuits alleging excessive use of force and a recent lawsuit regarding a former trainee's sexual harassment claims.

It's not known what the investigation entails at this time, but Newton said placing Lewis on leave was key to maintaining its integrity.

RELATED: SPRINGFIELD POLICE CHIEF PLACED ON LEAVE DUE TO INVESTIGATION

"I'm not surprised. After reading some of the articles last week about the female officer and her unpleasantness in her employment, I figured something was going to come down the line," said Springfield resident Salvatore Picozzi.

Springfield resident Michael Jordan also weighed in. 

"Corruption through the police department looks bad for our city," Jordan said.

Oregon State Senator James Manning is a former police officer. He told KEZI that he's been keeping his eye on the SPD since the Thurston protests last July.

"One of the videos show officers dragging a female African American by her hair and the officer punched her," Manning said. "The lawsuits that Springfield PD have been in show that there is something terribly wrong. If the city continues to get into lawsuits at this level, the city will probably go bankrupt."

Lewis has been with the department since 1982. He was promoted to acting chief in 2016 and then chief in 2017.

The city of Springfield said they are unable to provide more information at this time because they want "to protect the integrity of the investigation."

Lt. Matt Neiwert is the acting chief. 

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