COTTAGE GROVE – As part of an independent investigation, the City of Cottage Grove placed the city's police chief and captain on paid administrative leave on Friday. The City declined to comment on what allegations have been made, or how far the investigation reaches. 

Cottage Grove police chief Scott Shepherd and capt. Conrad Gagner were both placed on paid leave Friday, said Jake Boone, the assistant to the Cottage Grove city manager Richard Meyers, on Monday. They will be kept on leave until the end of the investigation.

In a statement, Meyers says the investigation is regarding “personnel issues,” and that “not all aspects of the investigation can be made public at this time.” 

He also cautions residents from, “presuming wrongdoing with regards to any City employee,” because “no conclusions have been made at this time.” 

Boone declined to comment on what the investigation is about. "This is the beginning of the investigation, not the end, so there should be no presumption of wrongdoing with regards to anybody," he said. "No conclusions have been made."

Boone said outside departments are conducting the investigation.

The temporary new chief will be Jeffrey Groth, who retired as the police chief for Sherwood last year, Boone said. Prior to that job, Groth served as a police officer in Tualatin starting in the late 1980s. Groth had been residing in La Pine but will stay in Cottage Grove during his interim role, Boone said.

“Of all the responsibilities of City Manager, personnel complaints and investigations are the most difficult tasks and are taken very seriously,” Meyers. “Again, I want to encourage the public to avoid jumping to any conclusions about the reasons for or the eventual outcome of the investigation. This is the beginning of the process, not the end.”