COTTAGE GROVE, Ore. -- Some residents in Cottage Grove feel a sense of shock and disappointment in their Police Department after several allegations against former command staff came out.
Last year, Police Chief Scott Shepherd and Captain Conrad Gagner resigned from their positions. Documents later revealed a number of disturbing allegations that reveal a series of unsavory details.
They include racial insensitivity, sexual harassment, incompetence in the execution of their duties, and disregard for the safety of CGPD officers and law enforcement agents of other departments.
Three other sergeants and a dispatch commander were also put on paid administrative leave in January 2023. According to Assistant City Manager Jake Boone, no further information can be given of those officers at this time. While those staffers are under investigation, this reduces the number of officers the department can deploy.
The Cottage Grove Police Department has been experiencing a personnel shortage. Boone said the Department is in the process of hiring more officers. In the meantime, elements of the Eugene Police Department and Lane County Sheriff's Office have been brought in to assist the CGPD.
Boone also said there is no threat to public safety. He added that patrols are continuing like normal. He also praised the department's Interim Chief, Jeff Groth, for his work over the last few months.
Boone said, "We brought in an interim Chief who has been doing a great deal of work to find any deficiencies in our Police Department and bring them up to standard."
Chris Compton, a longtime resident of Cottage Grove, said he believes the department has failed to live up to the high standards law enforcement are given. He also doesn't appreciate the fact the officers currently being investigated are on "paid" administrative leave; he thinks it's essentially a free vacation. Compton, however, does agree with Police that there is no threat to public safety. However, he would like to see the department become more accountable in the future.
He said, "We take a lot of pride in our community and it hurts whenever we see somebody betray the community's trust so thoroughly."
Compton also would welcome more investigations into the CGPD.