City & Government, Cottage Grove, Public Safety & Health

Cottage Grove Police Leaders Resign

Cottage Grove Police Chief Scott Shepherd and Capt. Conrad Gagner last week resigned from their posts amid an independent investigation.

The resignations for Shepherd and Gagner, who have been on paid administrative leave since late July, were effective Oct. 5, according to a statement from Richard Meyers, city manager. 

The city is not disclosing what the allegations against them are or the scope of the investigation.

Meyers says that prior to the pair being placed on administrative leave, he’d received a number of personnel complaints regarding the leadership in the police department. 

Outside departments then began conducting the investigation, said Jake Boone, assistant city manager, on Aug. 1. Because the two resigned, the investigation has ended Meyers said. 

“The investigation associated with their administrative leave has been stopped because of their resignations,” Meyers said. “It would be fiscally irresponsible to continue to pay the costs associated with an investigation regarding personal actions for people who are no longer city employees. It is also not fair to those involved to disclose the details of specific, confidential and private personnel matters that have not been verified as true or untrue.” 

Meyers declined to provide details on what the investigation was about or what the allegations were.

Interim Chief Jeff Groth will continue to serve as chief until the city recruits a new permanent chief, Meyers said. Groth, who recently came out of retirement to “fill in and help where needed” said that he is not looking to fill the police chief position permanently. 

The search for a new captain and chief is expected to take months, Meyers says. Until then, Groth will continue to head the Cottage Grove Police Department. 

“The Cottage Grove Police Department remains under the leadership of Interim Police Chief Jeff Groth and the focus remains on providing a high level of public safety for the community,” Meyers said.

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