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Pacific ousts police chief

Pacific Police Chief John Calkins has been officially terminated.

Mayor Cy Sun and the City Council dismissed the embattled Calkins during executive session at the council's regularly scheduled meeting on May 14, according to City officials.

The City has released no official statement about the termination.

Sun named Sgt. Jim Pickett as the acting police chief.

When the Auburn Reporter asked Sun to comment on Calkins' firing or expand on the decision, he replied in an email, "No! I don't want to talk about it."

Calkins had been on paid administrative leave for misconduct during to an argument following the Jan. 17 City Council meeting about the City's back-order purchase of new police vehicles.

Pacific's police chief is appointed and, according to the City's municipal code, the mayor has the "power of appointment and removal of all appointive city officers and employees ...."

The code also states that "every appointment or removal must be made in writing, signed by the mayor and filed with the city clerk," although as of May 30 nothing had been filed with the Pacific city clerk.

The termination marks the end of a controversial tenure for Calkins as chief.

In 2009, Calkins was the subject of an outside investigation by the Klickitat Count Sheriff's Office, which looked into allegations of misconduct, including: intimidation with a weapon; criminal trespass and improper conduct; driving under the influence; and improper conduct and witness tampering.

In August of 2008, Calkins was pulled over and charged with a DUI in Bonney Lake. He refused to perform field sobriety tests or provide a blood sample for testing, according to police reports. The report by the arresting officer also stated that Calkins tried to intimidate him. A jury later acquitted Calkins, but the investigation by the Klickitat County Sheriff's Office later found that Calkins actions during the stop "violated commonly accepted standards of conduct for law enforcement officers and chiefs of police."

Despite the findings of the outside investigation, Calkins was not disciplined at the time.

According to KOMONews.com, which received a letter from Sun regarding the termination of Calkins, the mayor stated he felt Calkins "slipped from under it," regarding the allegations of misconduct.

"How he did it I don't know," Sun told KOMO. "I only knew that justice wasn't done."

Sun also stated that he fired Calkins because he felt the chief's actions brought "negative, unsatisfactory, damaging publicity for the City of Pacific."

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