Former North Bend police leaders deny departures were ‘abrupt’

For now, the city of Coos Bay and the Coos County District Attorney will be helping North Bend with maintaining its support services.

Posted: Oct 13, 2021 5:26 PM
Updated: Oct 14, 2021 8:54 PM

NORTH BEND, Ore. – Controversy is stirring in North Bend after two leaders in the police department left earlier this month.

Following the notifications of Chief Robert Kappelman and Captain Curt Bennett's retirements, a statement on the city website claimed the resignations were ‘abrupt,’ but the two are saying that’s not true.

RI Law Group issued a statement on behalf of Kappelman and Bennett, saying the post indicates the city’s support for City Administrator David Milliron’s take on events, despite many complaints reportedly leveled at him.

The letter from the pair’s lawyers says they “endured a year of David Milliron’s increasingly bizarre and abusive behavior, culminating in his inappropriate interjection into a quadruple homicide case in June 2021.”

Kappelman and Bennett said a formal personnel complaint was filed against Milliron in June, and they reportedly told the city of several concerns within the department – including underfunding, micromanagement, understaffing, and overtime – which was reportedly not addressed.

KEZI 9 News reached out to the city for comment, and officials said they can’t comment on human resources issues. 

The letter also indicates the two took issue with another aspect of the city’s statement about their resignation, saying it indicates they retired due to the city’s planned 360-degree operational assessment of the department.

In the city’s statement, Milliron said the plan is to select an interim police chief and conduct the review of the department requested by the city council, and only then go ahead with recruiting a new police chief.

For now, the city of Coos Bay and the Coos County District Attorney will be helping North Bend with maintaining its support services.

However, staffing issues appear to have impacted the ability for the North Bend Police Department to investigate some cases in a timely manner.

Police said they found Dr. Craig Jackson's body in the 3000 block of Stanton Ave. in North Bend on Aug. 2. They said two men broke into his home. Jackson died from a gunshot wound to the head, officials said. The investigation is still ongoing in this case.

"The more time that goes by, the harder it is to solve and this has given them time," Jackson's mother, Teresa Robinson said. "Nothing's happening. And I don't know how soon it'll be to get somebody up to speed even when they get somebody."

According to Robinson, the original officer who was investigating the case went on vacation. After that, she said Captain Bennett was placed in charge of the investigation. When he retired, no officers were immediately assigned to lead the investigation. The Coos County District Attorney would not confirm whether or not an officer has now been placed in charge of investigating Jackson's death.

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