Virginia Police Chief On Administrative Leave

By KBJR Manager

January 28, 2011 Updated Jan 28, 2011 at 1:30 PM CDT

Virginia, MN (Northland's NewsCenter) - After working on the Virginia police force for more than 30 years and serving and chief of police for nearly 10, Chief Dana Waldron has been placed on a paid administrative leave.

The city council made the decision earlier this week.

The decision came late Tuesday evening after the city council members met behind closed doors.

"Tuesday about 3:30 or so the operations director came into my office and said the city council is going to meet in a closed session after the council meeting," said Waldron.

Dana Waldron says he was told the meeting was regarding an allegation against him and was advised to attend the meeting.

Waldron says given the late notification, he was unable to come up with someone to represent him at Tuesday night's meeting.

"The union advised me not to go without representation," said Waldron.

After learning of the council's decision on television, Waldron was asked to turn in his equipment Wednesday morning.

While Waldron has been placed on paid administrative leave, a detective from the Virginia police department, Dennis Benz, is serving as the active chief of police.

Waldron says he still has not been notified what the complaint is against him.

City operations manager John Tourville declined to go on camera, and says the complaint is not criminal, but could not go into further detail.

An independent investigation is being launched into the allegation against Waldron.

When asked if recent tension between the police chief and the council led to the leave of absence, Tourville said it is, quote, "not in direct relation to the strained tensions".

As for Waldron's next move, he says all he can do is wait and see.

"The ball is in their court, they need to take the next step. There's nothing I can do until I hear from them," said Waldron.

Both the city operations manager and the Virginia mayor declined to go on camera.

They both say while no timeline has been established for a decision, they hope to get this whole thing wrapped up quickly.

The city council is being advised in this matter by the league of Minnesota cities.

Waldron has union representation, but would not comment about personal legal representation at this time.

Written for the web by Elayne Crecelius