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Virginia police chief still baffled at being placed on leave

Thirty-two-year Virginia police officer Dana Waldron received a certified letter at 5 p.m. Thursday from Virginia City Operations Director John Tourville apparently meant to explain why Waldron has been removed as his city's police chief and plac...

Thirty-two-year Virginia police officer Dana Waldron received a certified letter at 5 p.m. Thursday from Virginia City Operations Director John Tourville apparently meant to explain why Waldron has been removed as his city's police chief and placed on paid administrative leave.

However, Waldron said he still doesn't know why the action was taken.

The letter informed the nine-year chief that a complaint was filed against him on Jan. 21. Tourville's letter said that "Policy No. 103 of the Virginia Police Policy Manual states that it is the city's policy to investigate circumstances that suggest an officer has engaged in unbecoming conduct, and impose disciplinary actions when appropriate.''

There's no hint as to what the alleged unbecoming conduct might be.

The Virginia City Council on Tuesday moved to place Waldron on the paid administrative leave while an investigation is being conducted.

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Tourville informed Waldron that he would be notified of the status and developments of the investigation "in a timely manner and will remain on paid administrative leave until further notice."

When asked for comment, Waldron said: "As a 32-year veteran of the Virginia Police Department it is unbelievable that I could have done anything that warrants this action. I have received overwhelming support throughout the state of Minnesota during this difficult time and I am very appreciative of it."

Neither Tourville nor City Attorney Tom Butorac returned the News Tribune's calls Thursday seeking comment. Virginia City Councilor Larry Cuffe Jr., a retired St. Louis County Sheriff's deputy, said he couldn't comment on the case because Butorac placed a "gag order'' on councilors.

News Tribune e-mails sent to the offices of Tourville and Butorac asking why Waldron was placed on administrative leave were not answered by the Virginia city officials.

Virginia Detective Dennis Benz is serving as the acting chief of police.

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