Prineville police chief placed on paid leave

City officials tight-lipped on Eric Bush investigaton

BEND, Ore. - Prineville Police Chief Eric Bush has been placed on paid administrative leave "pending an investigation," the city announced Wednesday.

"Since this involves a personnel matter, no further information will be released," the city said in a two-sentence, unsigned news release.

City officials have declined to provide any details on what led to the step involving Bush, who joined the police force in 1990 and has served as police chief since 2003.

Rumors of Bush's change in status had been circulating for weeks, and NewsChannel 21 had been trying track them down. But City Manager Steve Forrester referred the station to City Attorney Karl Dutli, who did not return calls.

Bush also is one of the highest-ranking members of the Oregon Army National Guard. He was promoted in 2011 to brigadier general, one of three generals in the Oregon guard.

In July, the Oregon Military Department announced that Bush, commander of the 82 Brigade Troop Command, had been assigned as deputy assistant chief of staff, J-3, for the United Nations Command/Combined Forces Command/United States Forces Korea.

Bush told NewsChannel 21 at the time that the role is an Army Reserve position, with "trips back and forth," and the same time commitment to the Guard he had previously.

"It varies from 74 to 139 days a year," Bush said. "The biggest change is that I won't be doing traditional 'drill weekends' or an ‘annual training' that is typically associated with reserve service.  Rather, my time will be driven by training and operational requirements from Korea."

He also said he wasn't too worried about how things will go back home while he's out of the country.

"I have a great team here," Bush said, adding, "Keep in mind much of that time (out of the area) runs over weekends as well."

Bush is a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom, having served 14 months in 2009 and 2010, and his awards include the Combat Infantry Badge and the Bronze Star.

Bush is certified as a corrections officer, has worked as a narcotics detective, and, in 1997, received recognition as the Oregon Narcotics Enforcement Association Officer of the Year for his region.  He is also a 1999 graduate of the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Virginia.

He holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Management and Communications from Western Baptist College and a master's degree in Strategic Studies from the United States Army War College.

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