Toledo police chief resigns from department.
TOLEDO - This city's embattled police chief is calling it quits, City Manager Pete Wall said Wednesday.
Under scrutiny for the past year for questionable uses of city funds, chief Don Denison left for Iraq this summer, where he's using his vacation time to train police officers.
"He's come under fire quite a bit this last year," Wall said of the 20-year veteran. "In that respect, I think it's probably a positive thing that he move on."
Denison faces discipline from the Oregon Government Standards and Practices Commission, which found in July that he'd violated state ethics laws by using his position for personal gain.
Two years ago, for example, Denison used a city-owned backhoe and a police escort to bury his daughter's 1,500-pound horse outside city limits. The outcome of those charges isn't clear yet.
Denison asked for a contested case hearing to fight the state's findings, said Don Crabtree, a commission investigator. Denison's Portland attorney, Steven Houze, could not be reached for comment.
Wall said the city is preparing to recruit its next chief and will advertise through various outlets, including with the League of Oregon Cities and in print media outlets, to find Denison's replacement.
Two members of the Toledo City Council will help Wall with the interviews, he said. "(Denison) did a number of very good things for this community, especially the youth in the community," Wall said. "We'll miss that a great deal."
Mary Johnson, a bookkeeper who filed a state complaint after she noticed irregularities in Denison's financial records, said she intended to bring "sunshine" into city government.
"While the problem's not over, at least maybe we can get over the difficulties we've had and start to heal," she said. "I hope city administrators have learned that keeping their government open and transparent is a good thing. Cover-ups and stonewalling are not."
Winston Ross can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.