By Don Iler • News Editor • 

Misconduct allegations behind placing Casey on leave, chief responds

Brian Casey
Brian Casey
Jacque Betz
Jacque Betz

[Updated Monday night with response from Brian Casey, added below]

Oregon State Police released a police report of its investigation into embattled Newberg City Manager Jacque Betz. State police launched their investigation following a complaint of criminal misconduct prepared by Newberg police Capt. Jeff Kosmicki and sent to Yamhill County District Attorney Brad Berry. 

The report details that Betz placed Newberg-Dundee police Chief Brian Casey on leave because of several reports of misconduct from eight current police officers and three former officers. It says she did this based on the advice of the city's insurance company, Citycounty Insurance Services, to limit the city's liability, and to provide time for an independent investigation.

The allegations by the current and former employees of the department included:

n Hostile work environment.

n Verbal abuse. 

n Member not meeting firearms qualification requirements. 

n Excessive force. 

n Modification of a use of force report. 

n Modification of a shotgun for personal use. 

The allegations involved several officers, including Casey. Betz decided to place Casey on leave "to prevent any perception of influence over employees while independent investigations were being conducted into the allegations of misconduct." 

Besides Betz, City Attorney Truman Stone and Newberg Human Resources Director Nancy McDonald, consulted twice with CIS on July 1 and July 15, received advice to place Casey on leave. 

The report states that Stone reported to police that a timeline to place Casey on leave was being formulated when Betz decided to act sooner during a regularly scheduled meeting she had with Casey. Betz placed Casey on leave July 15. 

Casey was brought back from leave by acting City Manger Terry Mahr on July 24, the day after the council hired Mahr. Mahr also replaced the investigator looking into the department, replacing original investigator Bill Carroll with Portland labor attorney Todd Snyder.

The report also shows that Mayor Bob Andrews was in the dark, both about Betz's decision and the reasoning behind it. 

Betz's attorney Judy Snyder said she had not yet had a chance to discuss the report with her client and declined to provide comment at this time. 

The Newberg city council placed Betz on leave July 20 at an early morning meeting after Berry announced July 19 that he was asking Marion County District Attorney Walt Beglau to investigate Kosmicki's allegations. At a press conference last week, Andrews said the council would not meet again until Aug. 17 and that he would recommend to the council to keep Betz on leave until an investigation was completed. 

Response from Chief of Police Brian Casey, released through the City of Newberg:

I received the Oregon State Police (OSP) report which was initiated by the Newberg-Dundee Police Department. After reviewing the report, which contains unsubstantiated allegations of police misconduct of which I was never made aware, I am left deeply disappointed that Ms. Betz never brought these issues to my attention and instead interfered in the police department, meddled through personal relations with an officer, and undermined my ability to manage, direct and uphold standards in the Police Department.

Please note that OSP's role was not to investigate NDPD's officers' complaints, but instead to investigate potential criminal charges against Ms. Betz for placing me on administrative leave. The OSP report expressly states that the NDPD complaints are unsubstantiated, as Human Resources Director Nancy McDonald made clear to the OSP during her interview. It's important to note that the OSP is not verifying these allegations in any way just by listing them and quoting others in the report--rather, the OSP is only reporting what they are being told.

To my knowledge, Ms. Betz's allegations are completely unfounded. Nancy McDonald told the OSP about 6 allegations involving police officers and the Chief of Police. No one has said what my alleged involvement might be. The reports allegedly were reported to Betz by other officers from within the department and this was the reason for the assessment. This is first I have seen of these complaints, and I have no knowledge about most of them or who is reporting them and what span of time they cover. Also, these complaints are merely the perspective of eight current employees and three former employees, in a police department of roughly 50 employees which responds to over 32,000 calls for service per year.

Unfortunately Ms. Betz never brought these alleged complaints to my attention because if she had I would have dealt with them accordingly as the chief of police. At the time they placed me on administrative leave, and continuing to this day, Ms. Betz and Ms. McDonald have never informed me about the nature of the complaints, the content of the complaints, the time period when they occurred, or who made them. There is no indication that I am the offender complained against, and as the Chief of Police it has always been my duty to investigate and correct circumstances like those listed in the OSP report. As Chief of Police, I want to emphasize my responsibilities and I want the facts determined either under my direction or by someone well versed in police departments and police accountability. The public trust depends on the professionalism and demonstrated competence with which the City and the police move to closure and transparency.

I am looking forward to responding to the details of the reports as soon as Ms. Betz provides her file on these complaints. My only angst is that Ms. Betz failed to let me know that these issues existed so that they could be addressed in a timely, effective manner.

I would like to remind the City Council and community that I never received any complaint from the police officers' union reps concerning any of these allegations. The OSP report does not state or even suggest that I committed misconduct of any sort, or that I knew of any of the issues which Ms. Betz told OSP she heard about from a small number of police department employees.

If I find out that Betz has been concealing excessive use of force reports from me for the purposes of blind siding me for whatever motive she may have I am going to be outraged. Use of force issues tug at the integrity of a police department, I hope this is not true.

* There is no missing shotgun there never has been a missing shotgun. To begin with it's an old out of service weapon. The gun was lawfully modified by our department armor and licensed with the ATF. The gun has been and will be assigned to me. The gun has never once been used or fired for personal use. I have followed department policy and qualified with the gun in the presence of many other officers. It's not a secret. When I was asked to turn in all city property I turned in the gun. If I am confronted by a terrorist, hostile sovereign citizen, criminal or drug dealer I put in prison then and if necessary and justified I may need to lawfully use the gun in my professional capacity as a police officer if need be and warranted to protect myself. Otherwise I have no intentions of using the gun for any other reason. Is Betz going to investigate the fire chief for having a fire extinguisher?

* To start with Betz says I was placed on Admin Leave because I asked to be and she is just accommodating me.

* Betz is allegedly fraternizing and drinking alcohol with an officer and sharing information with him about me. He apparently knew 6 days in advance of myself that I am going on admin leave.

* I was told that I was not under investigation for misconduct.

* Now I find out that Betz has allegedly talked with 8-10 current and past employees and I know nothing about this.

* I don't know who

* I don't for what

* I don't know when occurred, what past employees

* Reports says "other employees and chief of police" I don't know who the other employees are and who is allegedly involved in this misconduct.

* By the City's own admission the complaints they allege against me in the OSP report are unsubstantiated.

* Betz has never told me about any of this or about her investigation into me.

I remain firmly dedicated to my role as Chief of Police and look forward to working with the City Council in leading the city and the police department to excellence.

Brian Casey,
Chief of Police
Newberg-Dundee Police

 

Comments

listen*up

if more than one offence is deemed true he needs to GO!

Trafik

Somebody, somewhere is lying. I don't know which camp it is but something stinks in Newberg. About as much transparency as an empty bottle of tequila. Oops.

tagup

listen*up...I assume you think the complaints are about Casey, but it appears that no one is making accusations about him.....If complaints about other officers in the dept were withheld, how can he be held responsible for failure to correct the problems?

Sal Peralta

It sure seems that Casey was not brought into the conversation on the advice of counsel and the insurance company. Presumably because the complaints centered on him, personally. If the complaints against chief Casey were bogus, then I hope that will come to light. I am also very interested in the role of the District Attorney in the subsequent complaints of criminal activity by Betz. It sure seems to me that the Newberg City Council suspended Betz and reinstated Casey, at least in part, based on the fact that the Yamhill County DA publicly stated (or suggested) that the charges against Betz appeared to have merit. But now it seems that the charges were made as a tit-for-tat response to a legitimate complaint in which Betz received guidance from the City Attorney, HR Department head and the insurance company responsible for handling the complaint. I feel badly for all involved, but it will be interesting to see how this all unfolds.

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