Big Lake Police Chief Matt Hayen is on leave pending the investigation of a complaint against him, according to Big Lake City Administrator Clay Wilfahrt.
Hayen, who has been with the department for five years, was appointed chief in July following the May resignation of former Police Chief Joel Scharf. Scharf had served as Big Lake police chief since 2012 and had spent more than 30 years as an officer. In his resignation letter, he cited a recent diagnosis with post-traumatic stress disorder.
Hayen served as acting police chief before being sworn in as chief in mid-July. The council approved his promotion on a 4-0 vote with Council Member Ken Halverson abstaining, according to meeting minutes.
Halverson said be thought the council "dropped the ball on the process by not doing our due diligence to the taxpayers or the people of our community by only interviewing two internal candidates," minutes state. The other internal candidate for chief was Sam Olson, who has been with the department since 2003, according to the city's website.
Wilfahrt said Hayen has been on leave since Sept. 13. Wilfahrt did not describe the nature of the complaint. Hayen declined to comment on the leave but referred the Star Tribune to his lawyer, Minneapolis-based attorney Kelly Keegan. Keegan did not respond to a request for comment by midafternoon Tuesday. Before this complaint, Hayen had not received any complaints and has no disciplinary action on record, according to Wilfahrt.
Jenny Berg • 612-673-7299