Meet the New Sunriver Chiefs

After a candidates’ forum in Sunriver on Tuesday, during which community members were able to meet the final candidates for the positions of Police Chief and Fire Chief, the Sunriver Service District Board extended conditional offers to Bend Police Captain Cory Darling and Redmond Fire Chief Tim Moor.

Darling has served as the interim Police Chief for the Sunriver Police Department since the previous chief, Mark Mills, was placed on administrative leave earlier in the year and eventually resigned from his position.

Moor has been the Redmond Fire Chief since 2006, and has served his entire 30-year career with the Redmond Fire Department.

Sunriver Police Chief Resigns

Service District Board Closes Its Investigation of Harassment Complaint

The Sunriver Service District Board says it has accepted the resignation of Police Chief Marc Mills.
Here is the full statement released by the Board:

On December 2, 2017, Sunriver Service District leadership was made aware of a complaint reported to law enforcement from the day before involving Sunriver Police Chief Marc Mills that occurred in a public area of the police department, alleging that he had struck a subordinate in front of other Department personnel. On December 3, 2017, Chief Mills was placed on paid administrative leave, and the District was informed that the incident had been referred for criminal investigation to the Oregon Department of Justice. The District subsequently initiated its own, separate, administrative investigation into the incident. In the course of the District’s administrative investigation, employees raised complaints causing the District to expand the scope of the investigation, including allegations of other outbursts of temper, fears of retaliation and other inappropriate behavior inconsistent with the District’s policies and standards.

Although the District had not yet made any final decisions related to his employment, Chief Mills recognizes that, under the circumstances, it is untenable for him to continue his leadership of the Sunriver Police Department. Therefore, he has tendered his resignation to the District under a negotiated separation agreement. The District has accepted his resignation, and has concluded its investigation.

“Chief Marc Mills is a good police officer,” said Jim Fister, Chair of the Sunriver Service District. “One of his most recognized sayings is that the rules apply to everyone, equally, and I greatly respect that Marc recognizes this in making his decision.”

“Marc Mills has over forty years of excellent service to Central Oregon in a variety of police roles. He is respected for his skills as an investigator and enforcer of the law. His service as Police Chief of Sunriver can best be described as a time when the police developed a very positive relationship with the community. It is unfortunate that his tenure with the Sunriver Police Department is ending in this manner, and the District thanks Marc for his service and wishes him well.”

Sunriver Police Chief has First Court Date

Sunriver Police Chief Marc Mills, who was charged with misdemeanor harassment, was scheduled to make an initial appearance in Deschutes County Circuit Court today but his attorney, Erick Ward, appeared on his behalf.

Mills allegedly  shoved police sergeant Joseph Patnode hard enough for the sergeant’s head to hit the wall behind him. The physical altercation  occurred on December 1st while both Mills and Patnode were on duty at the Sunriver Police station. The altercation was witnessed by a Sunriver Police administrative staff member Tiffany Hughes ,who reported the incident to the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office.

The Oregon Department of Justice has also opened an investigation into The 62-year-old , who’s been placed on paid administrative leave by the Sunriver District Board  since December 3rd. Mills has served as Sunriver police chief since 2012.

Mills next court date is March 6th at 8:30 am when he’s scheduled to formally enter a plea. Today Judge Bethany Powers Flint ordered Mills to report to the jail to be finger printed before his next court date. She also honored the state’s request that Mills have no contact with neither Patnode nor Hughes. 

Central Oregon Daily’s Lisa Carton caught up with Mills’ lawyer Ward at the court house after today’s proceedings.

Negotiations with Mills Move Forward

The Sunriver Service District Board agreed to negotiate a potential settlement with Chief Marc Mills during its meeting on Monday.

The Sunriver Service District Managing Board held a public meeting Monday to decide the employment of Police Chief Marc Mills, who was charged Thursday with misdemeanor harassment after an investigation by the Oregon Department of Justice.

According to a statement from Deschutes County District Attorney John Hummel, Mills, 62, struck Sgt. Joseph Patnode while both men were on duty. Mills stuck Patnode hard enough that he fell into the wall behind him. Another officer who witnessed the incident reported it to the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office.

Mills has been on paid administrative leave since Dec. 3 and the board is conducting an administrative investigation focused on Mills’ alleged harassment and the culture of the police department.

The board voted on Monday to allow board chair Jim Fister and the service district’s lawyer to negotiate a potential settlement with Mills, who expressed interest in potentially resigning from his position as police chief.

Community members came out on Monday, mostly in support of Mills. Many commented that they would like Mills to keep his job, saying he was beloved in the community both as police chief and as a person.

Hear more from Monday’s meeting with Central Oregon Daily’s Lisa Carton tonight at 6 p.m. and again at 7 p.m.