City Manager Chris Eppley discharged a firearm in his office at Keizer City Hall on Thursday, March 4. The city council has contracted with retired Woodburn Police Chief Jim Ferraris to conduct an investigation.
The public should be very concerned about this incident. It brings up many questions that need to be answered fully and with transparency. One of the first questions is why there is no police report? Was the Keizer Police Department not immediately notified that there was a gunshot in city hall? If not, why not? Where does the resposibility lay?
Generally the discharge of a firearm, accidental or not, results in an adminstrative leave of the person responsible, pending an investigation. What is the public to think when the manager of their city is allowed to remain in office after such an egregious act?
It is a violation of the law that prohibits the firing of a weapon wthin city limits unless by a public safety officer or someone defending themselves, neither was the case here.
Supporters of Eppley were quick to comment on the firearm discharge. Many came before the Keizer City Council at its March 15 meeting to extol the character of Eppley and his value to the city. All this before an investigation has been completed. Talk about putting the horse before the cart.
Members of the city council should not make any futher public statements, nor solicit public comment until Ferraris' report has been presented to the city attorney. The process going forward needs to be clear and transparent. A person's past good works can not lay in the path of doing the right thing.
There are many questions that need to be answered and the public needs to be confident that this incident will not be minimized. Someone could have been killed or injured.