Hermiston puts its police chief on leave

HERMISTON -- Hermiston has put its police chief on paid leave and called in a retired law enforcement official from Hillsboro to look into officers' complaints about his management practices.

Hermiston City Manager Ed Brookshier told the City Council on Monday that Police Chief Dan Coulombe would be on leave immediately and the review into his conduct will begin in October, reported The East Oregonian.

Ron Louie, police chief in Hillsboro, will investigate the complaints against Coulombe. Louie said he has done similar work for state and federal law enforcement agencies.

"He was a name that both parties agreed upon and comes highly recommended," Brookshier said.

The paper reported that Coulombe makes $99,000 in annual salary.

The lawyer for the Hermiston Police Association, Jaime Goldberg, told the city council that Coulombe is a deplorable supervisor, morale is low and the situation in the department is dire.

Coulombe's lawyer, George Anderson, said putting the chief on leave would effectively end his career, demanded details of the vote by members of the police union to seek an investigation, and wondered whether Coulombe's opposition to raises proposed in a contract being negotiated led to the complaints.