Las Vegas Sun

September 22, 2018

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Boulder City Police chief resigns in light of animal killing case

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Steve Marcus

Stacia Newman, right, president of Nevada Political Action For Animals, protests in front of the Boulder City Police Department in Boulder City Thursday, Dec. 3, 2015. Protesters want charges to be brought against the city’s former animal shelter supervisor for killing too many animals.

The head of the Boulder City police department has abruptly resigned amid scrutiny over the handling of a former animal control supervisor accused of improperly euthanizing more than 100 animals.

Bill Conger resigned from the top post on Sunday, said J.C. Davis, a city spokesman. The city was notified Monday by the Total HR company that it had contracted with to hire Conger as police chief of administration, a civilian post.

Conger hasn't contacted city officials directly, and no reason has been given for the resignation, the city said Tuesday. Conger couldn't immediately be reached for comment.

"We don't know that he cited anything. He didn't resign to us," Davis said.

The resignation comes as the Clark County District Attorney's office is still considering the case against Mary Jo Frazier, who had been accused of violating the city code requiring animals to be held for at least five days and for a veterinarian to see and refer them first for a mercy killing, according to city documents. Frazier hasn't returned calls or emails seeking comment from the Associated Press, and Davis said the city hasn't been able to reach her either.

The case came under scrutiny in December amid media reports that a Boulder City police officer who investigated in April had recommended criminal charges against Frazier, including felony animal torture or killing and misdemeanor unlawful animal poisoning. But Conger had decided not to pursue charges back then, the mayor said, in part because she had legal authority to put down animals without veterinarian oversight. The city instead forced her to retire after a nearly 20-year career with the shelter.

During a protest against the inaction, Conger refused to address the public. But the city would later announce it would pursue the same charges previously recommended because of "public involvement."

Conger had previously been a police officer with the Las Vegas police department, and he became the civilian leader of the Boulder City police after the city dismissed the top cop in 2013 in light of a public records scandal. Conger's annual salary was $121,476.

Conger was hired to carry out the reforms from a related audit, but the city said that work hasn't been completed. The city will begin a search for a new police chief, but it's unclear if that role will again be a police officer or a civilian administrator.

Davis declined to say if Conger as a civilian had authority to override the police officer's report seeking charges.

"He had certainly during his career been a police officer," Davis said. "I don't know what, if any, bearing his civilian status would have had on that decision. But it wouldn't be appropriate for me to speculate because there is an active case involving Mary Jo Frazier."

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