SUNRIVER, OR -- The Sunriver Service District is expected to officially appoint Bend Police Captain Cory Darling as Sunriver’s interim police chief at its board meeting Thursday afternoon. Fellow Bend PD Captain Paul Kansky says it’s not unusual for regional agencies to help each other cover important leadership positions. "Larger agencies, they may have something internal like that, and someone internal just has to step up. Central Oregon, we don’t have the luxury of having departments with 200, 300, 400. But, we’re a tight-knit law enforcement community when it comes to support of each other."
The Service District placed Chief Marc Mills on Administrative Leave earlier this month, for yet to be released allegations. Capt. Kansky tells KBND News, "They need the help in a time like this, and Bend PD, we have the resource to do that. It doesn’t come without impact to us. Captain Darling, he’s got a lot of things on his plate and the rest of us will have to step in and try to divvy those up and carry that torch. But, it’s the right thing to do." He expects Darling to remain in Sunriver for a while, "At this point, we’re looking at 30 days, then we’ll re-evaluate. Captain Darling, he’s got nearly 28 years with us and other years prior to that, so he’s well experienced, well-rounded and I’m sure he’ll do a great job over there."
Also at Thursday's meeting, the service district intends to vote to hire an independent firm to conduct the administrative investigation into the police department and Chief Mills. Board Chair Jim Fister says the Sunriver Service District has no jurisdiction over criminal investigations, but that doesn't mean they should do nothing. "What the service district can do is an administrative investigation. Obviously, something has gone on and we need to understand it fully, and so essentially, we will do an administrative investigation in order to understand what actions we may or may not have to take out of this." He adds, "The goal of the Board of the Sunriver Services District is to insure the police and fire safety and security of Sunriver. we remain fully confident in our police department and our fire department to do it and I am very proud of the organization for continuing to focus on that."
Fister had no comment on the specific nature of the allegations against Mills, nor the Attorney General's investigation. Deschutes County District Attorney John Hummel says once the AG's investigation is complete, he will decide whether to initiate criminal charges.