Portland Police Chief speaking out about his paid administrative - KPTV - FOX 12

Portland Police Chief speaking out about his paid administrative leave

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He is now officially back on duty, and Thursday Portland Police Bureau Chief Mike Marshman spoke to FOX 12 about the investigation that led to him being placed on paid administrative leave for more than three weeks.

Marshman said he just returned to work on Wednesday after being cleared of wrongdoing in an investigation that centered on a police training attendance log.

However, despite being cleared in the case, Marshman still can’t talk about the specifics of what did or did not happen because Lt. Mike Leasure, a man he works closely with, remains on leave tied to the same case.

Marshman told FOX 12 he attended Mayor Ted Wheeler’s State of the City address on March 24, then received a call from the mayor’s chief of staff that afternoon notifying him that he was on paid leave effective immediately.

When asked if he knew at the time why he was putting on leave, Marshman said he had an indication as to the reason but was still surprised.

“I could make that connection, yes, because I knew Internal Affairs was looking into that case, so I knew what he was referring to," he said, "I was just surprised that it rose to that level.”

Marshman told FOX 12 that he was very surprised, even taken aback, that he was being put on leave because of the nature of the allegations.

Speaking to the broader issue of internal investigations, he said there’s a big problem with the city’s accountability system involving both the Portland Police Bureau and the Independent Police Review Board, a concern he said is shared by the DOJ.

“The Department of Justice called it Byzantine.That’s because it’s complicated and it’s slow and I don’t think that’s fair to the people involved in it, and the people who make the complaint,” Marshman said. “That part still needs to be fixed.”

While he hopes to work toward a solution, the chief said it’s been nice to be back on the job where he’s been reconnecting with the bureau and attending roll-calls for patrol officers.

Marshman said he’s never been on paid leave before and has never been away from work for three weeks, including vacations, so getting back has been a readjustment. He said that by going through the process himself, he learned some things.

"For me, since I’ve never been though administrative leave before, [I gained} empathy for the folks who have to go through it… It gives me a different perspective on how these incidents can impact employees and the community,” he said. “Again, it just re-invigorates my drive to look at the city’s accountability system on the macro level and see how we can still achieve what we need to achieve but do it quicker for everyone involved.”

Marshman took over the bureau in June 2016 after then-chief Larry O’Dea retired in the wake of a scandal. Mayor Wheeler plans to launch a national search for O’Dea’s replacement beginning next month and has said he encourages Marshman to apply for the job.

The chief told FOX 12 he plans to do just that, adding that he and the mayor are aligned on a lot of levels when it comes to the future direction of the Bureau.

“Once that job announcement comes out I’ll read it to make sure I agree with what he’s looking for and I think I’d be a good fit and then I’ll put in.”

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