Chief has made more than $56,000 in pay as investigations drag out

by: FILE PHOTO - The city of Scappoose had paid Scappoose Police Chief $56,851 since the beginning of his paid administrative leave, which started in September. The city of Scappoose within the next two weeks is expected to file a comprehensive decision on investigations focused on Scappoose Police Chief Douglas Greisen, city officials say.

The decision is expected to bring to conclusion investigations into Greisen stemming from allegations he ran a hostile workplace and the discovery of bank records tied to an unauthorized account and cash found in a locked drawer in his office.

Former City Manager Jon Hanken suspended Greisen with pay in September pending the results of the investigations, which have been carried out by Local Government Personnel Institute, commonly known by its acronym, LGPI. LGPI is a private firm widely used by government agencies for the purpose of internal investigations.

Since he was placed on leave in September, Greisen has received his monthly salary, a figure that totaled $56,851 as of March 25, according to records obtained by the Spotlight. Greisen’s annual salary as police chief is $102,681, according to city budget documents.

During his suspension, Greisen was required to surrender city resources, including his use of a police vehicle. He initially was prohibited from city property, though that exclusion was lifted to allow Greisen access to places where the general public is allowed.

“The city really could not prohibit him from being in public places, so we did change that on the suspension,” said Don Otterman, interim city manager, noting the prohibition was lifted in late January. “He can be where the general public is allowed to be.”

LGPI's first investigation into Greisen found he violated 10 city policies — policies Greisen had earlier recommended the city adopt to govern Scappoose police operations — in a February 2013 police pursuit by authorizing a subordinate officer to ram a fleeing vehicle at a rate of speed that was considered the use of lethal force, according to the former Salem Police Department homicide detective who managed the investigation for LGPI.

The two subsequent LGPI investigations into retaliatory workplace and mismanaged city funds allegations have been completed and submitted to the city.

Otterman said the city is still determining what its actions will be based on information contained in the reports. He said the reports are confidential and that he would not discuss them.

Otterman denied a Spotlight records request filed in January to review the results of the LGPI investigation into the discovery of Greisen’s alleged use of an unauthorized bank account and possession of unaccounted for cash in his locked office drawer. The Spotlight later that same month petitioned the denial to Columbia County District Attorney Stephen Atchison for a legal opinion on whether the records should be released, though results from that petition are pending.

The Spotlight also awaits a response from the city following a request for access to the second LGPI investigation related to allegations the chief ran a retaliatory workplace.

“I think there will be a filed decision on everything, hopefully within the next couple weeks,” Otterman said. “It will include everything.”

Otterman said he didn’t know whether the decision would be made in a meeting open to the public or in executive session, which is closed to public access and imposes limits on reporting media.

In January, Otterman upheld disciplinary action — initially handed down by Hanken — against Greisen for policies he was found to have violated in the February pursuit. The discipline amounted to two weeks’ suspension without pay, which the chief had already served, and went against a recommendation from a three-member committee of Scappoose city councilors — composed of Councilors Barbara Hayden, Jason Meshell and Mark Reed — who wanted to overturn the discipline against the chief.

Otterman declined to elaborate on any additional steps the city would need to take to resolve issues related to the investigations into Greisen.

“I’m not going into any of that,” he said.

Despite the seven-month absence of the chief, Scappoose Police Lt. Norm Miller said the department has been operating normally.

“We’re just doing business as usual,” he said.

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