Fairbanks Police Chief Randall Aragon has been placed on leave, as the city continues to investigate conflict-of-interest allegations tied to Aragon's private security business.
City of Fairbanks human resources chief Angela Foster-Snow, who is heading the investigation, announced the decision effective immediately in a statement on Wednesday afternoon.
"Deputy Chief Brad Johnson will be acting chief of police in (Aragon's) absence," Foster-Snow wrote.
She said in an email Aragon will be paid while on leave from the Fairbanks Police Department.
Aragon came under investigation after a former police chief alleged Aragon told a business owner requesting a security sweep of her firm that police were too busy to properly conduct the sweep, but that his privately owned security business could do so for $600.
Fairbanks City Council member Jim Matherly said Wednesday that placing Aragon on leave was a "step in the right direction." Action is needed beyond appointing Foster-Snow, part of the mayor's administration, to investigate the allegations, Matherly said.
"This rises above the level of the typical (human resources) matter," he said.
Foster-Snow is also the city's interim chief of staff. Former Fairbanks Chief of Staff Jeffrey James Jacobson is also on administrative leave after being charged with driving under the influence.
"There's still due process. We have yet to hear the other side of the story from the chief," Matherly said. Aragon was Outside this week for training, officials said.
Matherly said he's received multiple calls, emails and text messages from constituents concerned about the allegations against Aragon. He said he plans to speak with the city attorney Thursday about the possibility of forming an independent investigative committee.
Matherly is running against Fairbanks Mayor John Eberhart in the upcoming mayoral race. He said he is addressing the issue involving the police chief as a council member, not as Eberhart's opponent.