Bill Middleton plans to sue the city for violating the federal Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Act

SHERWOOD - The city of Sherwood announced today that Jeff Groth will serve as the city's next police chief.

Groth, a captain and public information officer with the Tualatin Police Department, is expected to report to duty in Sherwood on Monday, Feb. 4. According to a city of Sherwood press release, Groth has about 18 years of law enforcement experience after beginning his career in Tualatin in 1989.

'In making the appointment, we recognize Mr. Groth's proven record of leadership and administration as well as his energy and enthusiasm to lead our police department, said Ron Ruecker, Sherwood's director of public safety.

Groth's selection comes after months of controversy surrounding former police chief, Bill Middleton.

Middleton had served as police chief in Sherwood for 10 years before being called to active duty with the U.S. Army Reserves in 2005. He spent 18 months as a lead interrogator in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay.

When Middleton returned in May 2007, the events surrounding the creation of a director of public safety position led Middleton to file a federal complaint against the city claiming that Sherwood leaders violated federal Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act. He argued that the new public safety director position changed Middleton's position in the city.

In December, Middleton told the Sherwood Gazette that he still planned to sue the city for violating the federal Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Act.

Middleton officially resigned as police chief on Oct. 25 and is now working as the director of campus safety for Warner Pacific College in Portland.

In Tuesday's press release Sherwood Assistant City Manager Jim Patterson was quoted as saying, 'Jeff Groth is a servant leader who has a heart for people and for Sherwood. He is the right person to unify our police department as police chief and provide focus and direction as the department moves forward.'

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