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Details scant in vote for Rubenstein revocation

Paul RubensteinA state committee recently released meeting minutes that include the bare outline of members’ reasons for voting to revoke the police certification of former Cornelius police chief Paul Rubenstein.

The Police Policy Committee of Oregon’s Department of Public Safety Standards and Training (DPSST) met Nov. 19 in Salem to discuss a variety of issues, including revocation and eligibility related to police certification for five officers, including Rubenstein.

Both Kent Barker — chair of the Oregon Association of Chiefs of Police and also chair of the committee — and Washington County Sheriff Pat Garrett abstained from the discussion and the vote related to Rubenstein due to potential conflicts of interest. (The Washington County Sheriff’s Office now runs the Cornelius Police Department.)

Reached Monday, Rubenstein objected to the committee’s first step, which was to adopt the staff report as the record upon which the decertification recommendations are based.

That’s because DPSST staff did not do any new investigating but rather relied on investigations done by the Oregon State Police and the city of Cornelius.

While he has no problem with the state police investigation, Rubenstein contends the city investigation was flawed and unfair. “They did not complete the investigation on me,” he said Monday. “The city investigator scheduled a second interview appointment to talk to me and never showed up.” Instead, “the city manager showed up to discuss my retirement.”

Rubenstein also claims city officials gave him only bits and pieces of its investigation report so he has never seen the whole thing.

Based on the two reports, the committee determined that some of Rubenstein’s alleged behavior qualified for license revocation, including gambling while on duty; not setting a good example as chief of police, which is a position “that should be looked up to by others;” and using his city-assigned work vehicle for his own personal use.

In addition, the committee found that Rubenstein misused city resources, though the minutes released last week did not specify whether that misuse was related to his vehicle use or something else.

Rubenstein said the state police investigation found nothing wrong with his use of the vehicle.

The committee also found Rubenstein behaved dishonestly when he allegedly lied about his relationship with a woman who was a suspected drug user. “Dishonesty” carries a lifetime ban on recertifica-


“At no point in time have I lied about anything in this,” Rubenstein insists. “At no point in time did I have any ‘relationship’ with this woman.”

According to the minutes, the committee also found aggravating circumstances to Rubenstein’s conduct in that several different people approached him about his problematic behavior, but he “never made any attempt to correct the situation.” In addition, the minutes stated that Rubenstein “showed minimal contrition and he excused his behavior because of his pay cut.”

Committee members voted unanimously to revoke Rubenstein’s police certification, which covered basic, intermediate, advanced, supervisory, management and executive levels. The Board on Public Safety Standards and Training will vote on the committee’s recommendation Jan. 28.

Rubenstein has vowed to fight the decertification, so if the board approves the revocation, he will request a contested case hearing and the case will go to an administrative law judge.