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Forest Grove Police Chief Janie Schutz has been on leave since December as the department makes other changes.

COURTESY PHOTO: - Forest Grove Police Chief Janie SchutzForest Grove's police chief is on leave, a top city official confirmed this week, but officials aren't giving a reason for her absence or when she is expected to return.

Police Chief Janie Schutz has been on leave since December, according to Paul Downey, Forest Grove's director of finance and administrative services. He did not provide an exact date.

Downey did not provide a reason for Schutz's absence, citing city policy not to disclose personal information about employees without legal obligation.

He didn't provide an answer by deadline as to exactly when in December Schutz's leave began, or whether she is considered to be on indefinite leave.

Schutz was unavailable by phone and did not immediately respond to a message via Facebook inquiring about her absence.

Capt. Mike Hall and Capt. Troy Maslen are effectively in charge of the department, along with City Manager Jesse VanderZanden, while Schutz in on leave.

Reached for comment, Hall referred questions about Schutz's absence to City Hall.

In addition to Schutz's absence, Capt. Matt Smith recently requested a demotion to patrol officer, Downey said. Smith had been promoted to captain in October 2019.

Downey said Smith's request was approved by Schutz on Dec. 17. The position change comes with a pay reduction.

Smith has received multiple awards for his work as a police detective during his time in Forest Grove. He could not be reached before deadline for comment on this story.

Maslen was promoted from sergeant to captain following Smith's demotion.

Hall declined to comment on the position changes, other than to confirm Maslen's promotion.

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