The City of Cañon City has placed its Chief of Police, Duane McNeill, on paid administrative leave pending further review and analysis of an internal management audit of the police department.
According to the City, its Administration was concerned with the direction of the department and internal personnel and morale issues.
They contacted the Technical Assistance section of the Colorado Association of Chiefs of Police in December to request a management audit of the department. The request was authorized by the Cañon City Council.
City Administration says it found possible management and personnel issues in the department that warrant further investigation and assessment. The administrative leave for Chief McNeill was deemed to be necessary to allow a thorough and independent assessment of the situation and prescribe corrective actions for the department.
Many in town said the Chief just doesn't understand Cañon City and are not surprised by the move. Among the most common complaints from residents were citations handed out exclusively by Chief McNeill for things like jay walking and illegal u-turns. Many stood behind longtime employees of the department who wouldn't follow orders to direct other officers to write the same type of tickets.
"There is clearly a disconnect between the majority of the department and specially the Chief of Police," wrote Paul Schultz in the final remarks of the audit. "I think the situation is salvageable but will take a concerted effort on 3 sides- the City Council, the Chief and the Officers."
It is not known how long it will take to complete the investigation, but City officials are working to initiate the review within days. McNeill has been employed as the Chief of Police in Cañon City since December 2009.