Former WPD chief investigating Keizer city manager

A former Woodburn Police Department police chief has been hired to investigate an accidental discharge of a firearm by Keizer City Manager Chris Eppley.

Kathy Peck, the city’s legal counsel in human resource matters, said she expects the investigation to be complete by the end of March.

Eppley discharged a firearm inside his office on March 4. No one was hurt and the incident was not reported to police.

Keizertimes has reached out to Eppley and offered him the opportunity to tell his side of what happened, but he requested and the reporter agreed to wait until more of the process has played out.

“ I’m not going to try to make this less of an issue than it is.  This is clearly an earth shattering event in my life, both professionally and personally and my focus now is to learn from it and become a better person, father, husband, professional, and Catholic,” Eppley said.

At a Keizer City Council meeting Monday, March 15, Keizer Mayor Cathy Clark offered up a few more details regarding the timeline after the firearm was discharged.

After the incident, the city safety committee, human resources department, the mayor and outside legal counsel were notified of the incident.

The council met in executive session on Monday, March 8, and discussed the next steps. A Keizertimes reporter was present during the meeting, but members of the media are legally prohibited from discussing what is talked about.

On March 10, Clark signed a contract with Jim Ferraris, retired Woodburn police chief, to conduct the investigation. The scope of the investigation has not been disclosed.

According to public records, Ferraris was hired by the Beaverton Police Department in 1978, spent 19 years with the Portland Police Bureau before becoming a deputy chief with the Salem Police Department, and hired by the WPD as chief in 2014. He retired from the Woodburn department two weeks ago.