Virginia Police Chief Loses Council Confidence

By KBJR News 1

July 13, 2011 Updated Jul 13, 2011 at 7:37 PM CDT

VIRGINIA, MN (Northland's NewsCenter)---Today marks day one of the expected 3 day civil service commission trial against 9 year Virginia Chief of Police Dana Waldron.

"The feeling of myself is that I do not support Mr. Waldron as Chief of Police," Virginia Mayor Steve Peterson said.

Day one of the trial presided over by St. Louis Park Mayor Jeff Jacobs, revolves around a slough of complaints about Virginia Police Chief Dana Waldron dating back almost ten years.

Waldron has been at the center of an ongoing investigation involving non–criminal charges of inefficiency and misconduct since he was placed on paid administrative in January of 2011.

The acting Chief of Police during Waldron's administrative leave says it was a recent change in Waldron's attitude that lost the confidence of the council and employee's.

"He became angry," Dennis Benz, a detective for the Virginia Police Department said. "You were unable to communicate with him. He actually.... You know, I'm a pretty fast and steady guy, he actually frightened me. It made me worried that I didn't know what to expect from him."

City Operations Manager John Tourville admits to having never given Waldron a written work performance review but testified that Waldron's pattern of behavior within the last 18 months included inappropriate and intimidating tactics, which he says amounted to an abuse of power according to the personal conduct policy.

"It's very awkward when you've got a police chief wearing a gun coming in and physically, physically shaken with you and then with the profanity," Tourville said. "I was very disappointed, and I let him know I couldn't believe he had used the F–word."

Waldron denies acting like a bully and while he acknowledges upsetting some of his officers with criticism of their duties he says he believes he has run his office in a fair manner.

"Don't get me wrong, I make mistakes, I'm a human being," Waldron said. "I get upset about things and I deal with them. I've been Chief for 9 years. They brought up 2 or 3 incidents where I got mad at an officer, and as you can see from the testimony, I think, you know is it really that big of a deal?"

A total of 37 witnesses are expected to take the stand against Waldron throughout the duration of the trial.

Waldron says though all allegations have been made public, he still wishes to remain in his position as Chief of Police.

Posted to the web: Jennifer Walch