SUNRIVER, OR -- Sunriver Police Chief Marc Mills resigned his post, last week, leaving the District Department without a leader. Sunriver Service District Chair Jim Fister told Central Oregon Daily that Bend Police Captain Corey Darling did a great job as interim Chief, but they've chosen someone else to head the department going forward. "I do have authority under my Chairmanship to appoint someone temporarily as Interim Chief, and we've asked Scott Hayes who's a retired, I believe, Deputy Chief from Salem to step in for us. We will confirm Scott at our upcoming regular meeting on Thursday." Capt. Darline will return to Bend PD. Hayes will take over while the search continues for a permanent replacement. Fister hopes a new Chief will be hired in the next two to three months.
Mills had been on leave since early December, when he allegedly punched a fellow officer while on duty. Fister says other complaints came to light during that investigation, including inappropriate comments and angry outbursts, leading to the agreement to end the Chief's contract. According to Fister, the Board took everything, including community input, into account in deciding to end Mills' contract. "It was divided on both sides; there were some fans, including myself, by the way, who really appreciate the job Marc had been doing. And there were some others who felt that the details they had heard were concerning. And, you know, obviously, we would take that into account, but what we really wanted to do was we wanted to have that discussion with Marc and his representatives himself to really come to a conclusion." Fister says it was a difficult decision, but one that everyone, eventually, found necessary, due to the recent developments, "We did highlight some additional workplace violations, some irrational outbursts of anger and inappropriate comments, some of the officers had expressed fear of retaliation. Those would be violations under our employee handbook or our workplace policies. I think when we looked at those things and just had discussions with Marc and his representatives, that was when we agreed that it would probably be best if he resigned. And he agreed." Mills had over 40 years of service to Central Oregon.