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No charges against Prineville police chief

PRINEVILLE (AP) — Oregon state investigators have concluded there is insufficient evidence to charge former Prineville Police Chief Eric Bush with a crime.

The central Oregon city fired Bush after a 10-month investigation found he padded his hours to collect flex-time benefits, used city computers and equipment for non-city business, and misused his city vehicle and credit card.

The district attorney in Crook County, Daina Vitolins, asked the state Department of Justice to determine whether criminal charges were warranted.

State investigators concluded there’s no basis to charge Bush with theft or official misconduct, The Bend Bulletin reported Wednesday.

Bush has filed a $2.5 million suit against the city alleging he was fired because he accepted an Oregon Army National Guard assignment to train troops in South Korea.

In a letter to Vitolins, Assistant Attorney General Kristen Hoffmeyer outlined the findings:

— Investigators couldn’t determine how much flex time Bush was accruing and how much he was using. Hoffmeyer noted that Bush’s claimed flex hours did not match what the city believed he earned on 39 days during three years, and in some of those instances, he appeared to under-report the hours.

— Investigators were similarly unable to establish that Bush misused office computers and equipment. Bush acknowledged occasionally using his city email account and city printers and scanners to process documents related to his Guard role, but he said he thought the use was not excessive. The city’s employee handbook is vague as to what constitutes “personal use” of city email and silent on the use of scanners and copiers.

— There were four instances when Bush used his vehicle to conduct National Guard business. Bush told investigators he had city and military business during all four trips. Bush told investigators he had mistakenly submitted reimbursement claims to the National Guard for two of those trips and then returned the money to the military after he was made aware of the error.

Information from: The Bulletin,

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