Two Roseburg police officers involved in a criminal misconduct internal investigation resign

June 17, 2018

Two patrol officers from the Roseburg Police Department resigned within one week of each other while the department was conducting an internal investigation looking into alleged criminal misconduct by some of its officers, according to state records.

The first officer, Nathan Thomas, resigned on May 30 during an “active investigation.” The second officer, Bryanna Oelrich, resigned less than a week later on June 4.

According to documents from the Oregon Department of Public Safety Standards and Training, Oelrich resigned approximately one hour before the department launched an internal investigation where Oelrich “was going to be questioned as a possible eye witness (sic) to a recent ex-employee’s criminal misconduct.”

Oelrich was also going to be questioned about “the possibility she was personally involved in similar misconduct.”

Both documents, which were obtained by The News-Review through a public records request, did not provide any details about the alleged misconduct. In an area on Thomas’ separation document where the department is asked to “explain, in detail, the reason for separation,” Chief Jim Burge, who signed the document, wrote, “(Thomas) resigned during active investigation. Inquire with agency for further details.”

Roseburg Sgt. Gary Klopfenstein, who will become Roseburg’s new police chief when Burge retires at the end of this month, said it was against the department’s policy to comment on any investigation matters and declined to provide details on the alleged misconduct.

Oelrich, however, said she resigned for different reasons.

Oelrich, who was hired by the department in 2016, said she “felt targeted” by Sgt. Jeremy Sanders and Cpl. Matthew Bird because of a personal relationship she had with a co-worker.

“As a result I have been denied/persuaded against career advancement opportunities as well as being told on countless times I would lose my position because of that relationship,” she wrote.

Klopfenstein did not return multiple calls requesting comment about Oelrich’s allegation.

In an interview with The News-Review, Oelrich said she was still willing to be interviewed by the police department about the internal investigation but was told she would no longer be needed.

“I offered to give the interview, but was informed that I wouldn’t need to give an interview now that I no longer was employed with the city,” she said.

Thomas was hired by the Roseburg Police Department in 2013. He previously served in the Marine Corps and was a federal air marshal with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. He declined to comment further on his resignation when reached Thursday afternoon.

Note: The (sic) used in a quote indicates a grammatical error in the original document.