- Associated Press - Thursday, October 20, 2016

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) - Fairbanks Mayor John Eberhart has reinstated the city’s police chief, one month after he was placed on leave pending the outcome of an investigation into allegations of possible conflict-of-interest violations.

Eberhart announced Wednesday that Chief Randall Aragon would return to work immediately.

The decision comes in the wake of the shooting of police Sgt. Allen Brandt by a 29-year-old suspect.

Eberhart cited the need for leadership following the Sunday shooting that left Brandt seriously wounded. Other reasons for Aragon’s reinstatement include short staffing and that officials haven’t yet found any wrongdoing to warrant disciplinary action against Aragon.

The chief was placed on administrative leave Sept. 22 after former police Chief Dan Hoffman called for the investigation in a letter to the Fairbanks City Council. Hoffman said he received a report from a business owner of “unethical activity” by Aragon.

The letter contends Aragon told the business owner that police could only do a brief assessment of her business after she reported property crime concerns. Aragon, listed as the sole proprietor of Certified Security Surveys, then allegedly offered to do a “more thorough job” himself for a fee.

The investigation remains ongoing.

“If the investigation results in corrective or disciplinary action, returning Chief Aragon to work does not change that possible action,” Eberhart said in a statement. “It is important to minimize any possible liability of the City since it is premature to assume that there was wrongdoing, contrary to some statements made in public.”

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