Scappoose police shakeup prompts state probe
An email distributed to the Scappoose City Council, police chief and assorted media Tuesday, April 30, alleges a recently fired police sergeant had inappropriate relations with a female recruit at a time when she was undergoing a background investigation for a job in the city's police department.
Also, the author of the email — which is signed "Ron Daniels" — raises questions about Scappoose Police Chief Norm Miller's qualifications to hold the department's top post, a position he has held since October 2014.
Sgt. Dennis Viereck, a subject of the email, was fired from the Scappoose Police Department last week, on April 22, state Department of Public Safety Standards and Training records show. Through its attorney, the city conducted a roughly month-long internal investigation into Viereck prior to his termination, confirmed Michael Sykes, the Scappoose city manager.
Sykes said he could not discuss the specifics of the personnel matter or allegations spelled out in the email, but added that the city acted swiftly when it was made aware of concerns about Viereck.
While the emailed allegations could not be independently substantiated, DPSST — the state agency for law enforcement and corrections licensing and certification — has an active professional standards investigation into Viereck.
"The case is in its very early stages," a DPSST official noted to the Spotlight following a request for records about Viereck, adding, "It may take considerable time to be resolved."
When contacted, Viereck said he had been advised by his attorney not to discuss his termination and said he is trying to move on with his life.
DPSST is also explor-
ing Miller's certification questions.
Miller was appointed to the police chief job in October 2014, about six months after the city terminated its employ of former chief, Douglas Greisen. DPSST records show Miller had a deadline to achieve a required management level state certification two years following his appointment, in October 2016.
Marsha Morin, the state agency's criminal justice certification program manager, indicated the agency will be working with Miller to bring him up to speed.
"We'll take a look at his records and work with the Chief to get this resolved," Morin wrote in an email to the Spotlight.
Sykes said he spoke with Miller on Thursday. The chief submitted the necessary certification files to DPSST, but has yet to receive confirmation from the state agency they've been received and reviewed, Sykes said.
Viereck started at the Scappoose Police Department in 1998 as a volunteer reserve. He was hired full-time in 2000 as a patrol officer. In 2010 he was promoted to the position of patrol sergeant, which he held at the time of his departure.
The city is currently looking to fill police lieutenant and sergeant positions.