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Gay Police Chief Faced Allegations Before Resignation

CORVALLIS, Ore. (AP) – Documents from a state investigation show that an openly gay Adair Village police chief who resigned in January was being reviewed for allegations of misconduct, according to a newspaper report.

An Oregon Department of Justice probe concluded that Justin Jones had used a city credit card to pay for personal expenses, including gasoline, that added up to less than $400, the Corvallis Gazette-Times reported.

But the probe also uncovered other concerns, including the hiring of a man on probation for a police department job, and that Jones had viewed more than 125 pornographic images on his work computer.

In an April 15 letter to Jones, the justice department said its investigations revealed serious lapses in his judgment and professionalism, according to documents obtained by the newspaper.

Department of Justice Special Agent Steven McIntosh has recommended that the Department of Public Safety Standards and Training revoke Jones’ law enforcement certification.

When Jones resigned, he had said it was over personal reasons. He also defended his actions and is fighting the decertification recommendation.

His troubles with Adair Village officials, he said, began after he publicly revealed that he is gay.

Jones, 42, earned a degree in criminal science from Western Oregon University in 1992, and spent 15 years with Monmouth police, reaching the rank of sergeant. He was hired as Adair Village’s first police chief and only officer in February 2009.

The job paid $50,000 and required him to build a department from scratch. He recruited volunteer reserves and cadets, hired another paid officer and staffed a call center to take nonemergency calls.

When Jones resigned in January, Mayor Bill Currier commended Jones for his work. “Justin approached the job of establishing a brand new police department with energy, creativity, enthusiasm,” Currier said at the time. “He put in place a strong enough and complete enough department that we are able to continue in his absence.”

An assistant city administrator in June noticed charges she thought were suspicious, including gas for a vehicle co-owned by Jones and a friend.

The Department of Justice did not file charges relating to those allegations because the amounts involved were small; Jones repaid the city; and the department found a lack of oversight and policies regarding use of the credit card.

In July, Jones hired 20-year-old Tony Reichling to take non-emergency calls for the department. Reichling had been on probation after pleading no contest to a second-degree theft charge.

The justice department also investigated allegations that Jones had furnished alcohol to minors at a Christmas party at his house in 2010.

McIntosh in his report said he had collected no statements that Jones provided alcoholic beverages to minors but “at the very least” he overlooked minors drinking at his home.

Jones was placed on administrative leave Dec. 31.

Jones told the Gazette-Times he did not purposely misuse funds and that he paid back every charge. He said that he used the city credit card by accident or in situations where he forgot his wallet.

Jones denied other allegations.

He said he did not serve alcohol to minors, and that if he viewed pornography on his computer, it was for work.


Associated Press

The Associated Press is an American multinational nonprofit news agency headquartered in New York City.

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