Forest Grove Police Department deals with short staffing

The Hillsboro Police Department is struggling to understand why one of its officers was arrested for aggravated attempted murder.

In his first public statement on the incident, Hillsboro Police Chief Carey Sullivan said, "Our people have been affected both personally and professionally. Personally they struggle to understand the actions of a co-worker and friend. Professionally they take pride that they are often able to intervene before incidents reach this level and wonder what may have been missed or could have done to prevent this incident."

Off-duty officer Timothy Cannon was arrested on Jan. 20 after a domestic disturbance call at his Forest Grove home escalated into an armed confrontation with city and county law enforcement officials. Numerous shots were fired inside Cannon's home before he was arrested. According to the Washington County Sheriff's Office, Cannon fired a firearm during the confrontation. A sheriff's deputy suffered a non-life threatening shrapnel wound. The source of that bullet has not been released.

In a statement released Saturday, Sullivan said, "Incidents such as the one involving Cannon tragically strike all of our communities much too often. Of course this one was much closer to home because it involved one of our own. "

Sullivan also said the members of the Hillsboro Police Department are continuing to perform their duties well, however.

"While this incident has proved troubling in many ways, the men and women of HPD are coping well and have maintained their professionalism while continuing to provide the highest levels of law enforcement services to our community," the statement said.

The Washington County Major Crimes Team is continuing to investigate the and additional information will be released in the future.

Forest Grove deals with short staffing

The recent standoff with Hillsboro police officer Tim Cannon has left five Forest Grove police officers on paid administrative leave after apparently firing their guns during the incident.

In addition to those five, Capt. Aaron Ashbaugh has been on paid administrative leave since Oct. 31.

"We're down over one-third of our agency. It's a hit," said Capt. Mike Herb, public information officer for the department. Officers are working overtime, in some cases pulling double shifts, he said. The Washington County Sheriff's office has offered help and "we may take them up on that."

Forest Grove should have about 20 sworn officers patrolling the city, Herb said. But one is in training, one is on light duty and five are now on leave.

Those five are likely to be gone at least two weeks, said Human Resources Manager Brenda Camilli. "There's all kinds of things they have to do before they can return to duty," she said.

If necessary, the department's three detectives can be called in to help patrol, Camilli said, but "I know their workload's been really high too."

The administrative staff — Herb, Ashbaugh and Chief Janie Schutz — could also help, she said, although Ashbaugh is currently unavailable.

City officials refused to say why Ashbaugh is on leave, but the timing suggests it is related to an investigation into corruption allegations against Cornelius Police Chief Paul Rubenstein, who is on paid administrative leave.

A 15-page letter from four Cornelius police officers, which launched the investigation into Rubenstein's conduct, included a litany of complaints, including an allegation that Rubenstein associated with a drug dealer in Forest Grove. The letter claimed that a Forest Grove officer had issued an incident report about Rubenstein, but that an unnamed high-ranking officer from Forest Grove had tampered with the report before sending it to the county sheriff's drug team.

Cornelius began an investigation Oct. 16. Ashbaugh was put on leave two weeks later.

Camilli said she did not know when Ashbaugh would return, but "as soon as possible we're hoping to have this behind us."

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