Former Deschutes County Sheriff Les Stiles was brought in to fill the role and review the police department

Photo Credit: CENTRAL OREGONIAN - Les StilesThe City of Prineville will move forward with a new interim police chief as former Deschutes County Sheriff Les Stiles was sworn-in on Monday.

Stiles was appointed to the position to fulfill a number of needs for the City of Prineville and the Police Department. He will serve for an indefinite period with the specific focus of performing the duties and responsibilities of the police chief while at the same time, conducting an objective review of department operations, policies and procedures and best practice standards.

“The city was looking for, at some point independent of anything going on over there, a best practice review of the Prineville Police Department, top to bottom,” Stiles said. “One of the only ways you can do that effectively is with somebody who is totally unbiased from the outside.”

The hire and subsequent department review comes after the termination of former Police Chief Eric Bush and his lawsuit against the city. Documents associated with the lawsuit revealed a divide in the department with some staff supporting Bush and others finding fault with his leadership. Nevertheless, City Manager Steve Forrester contends that the review is not prompted by any particular issues.

“What have done that (reviews) throughout the city in terms of continuous improvement opportunities,” he said. “This is another aspect of what we have been doing at the city. We brought in third parties to look at our financial situation . . . This is no different. Obviously, the timing is difficult right now, but this is very much in line with our goals and strategies.”

Stiles retired as Deschutes County Sheriff in 2007. Subsequent to his retirement, he formed his company Legacy Leadership, LLC. One of the projects he worked on during that time was conducting best practice reviews of many police departments, sheriff offices and 911 centers in the State of Oregon on behalf of city/county insurance services.

Additionally, Chief Stiles served as Adjunct Faculty for the Concordia University School of Management MBA program for five years and taught courses in Ethical Leadership and Organizational Behavior.

As Stiles takes over as chief, Captain Michael Boyd will resume his duties as captain full time, allowing him to focus fully on that role rather than two.

“It’s exceedingly demanding,” Stiles said of serving in two roles the way Boyd has, “because what you are doing is shortchanging your organization on the one position. You can’t do both and you can’t do two jobs at that level at the same time.”

As part of the review process, Stiles will look at the internal culture of the department as well as the external components including their work with the Crook County Sheriff’s Office, Crook County Fire and Rescue, and more.

Stiles stressed that his work will not likely result in any widespread changes within the department.

“I am not one who is a placeholder, and I am also not one who is coming in with what most agencies call the broom,” he said. “I am not a broom.”

After reviewing the department, Stiles said he will furnish Forrester with a report that includes his observations and recommendations. In addition, he will help determine what traits, skills, and knowledge the city will need in a permanent police chief.

“The council, myself, and all members of the management team here at the city take public safety very seriously,” Forrester said. “I feel very fortunate, through my network into public administration and public safety, that I was able to get connected with Les Stiles and that we were able to bring his breadth of knowledge and experience to bear to improve our police department.

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