- Associated Press - Tuesday, February 28, 2017

FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) - Fairbanks’ former police chief, who resigned in October amid conflict of interest allegations, has denied any wrongdoing in operating his secondary security business.

Mayor Jim Matherly’s office announced last month that an investigation into Randall Aragon found he had engaged in work for his business while on-duty as police chief.

Aragon told the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner (http://bit.ly/2mAo3pV) last month that he didn’t violate any rules and received permission to run Certified Security Surveys. He previously was advised by city officials not to talk about the case while it was under investigation.

“I got permission. I had a business license. There was no rules against working outside (my duties as police chief),” Aragon said. “In my heart of hearts, I know I didn’t do anything inappropriate.”

The investigation into Aragon was prompted by former police Chief Dan Hoffman, who called for the probe in a September letter that was sent to the City Council and various media outlets throughout Alaska.

Hoffman alleged he received a report from a business owner of unethical activity by Aragon. He accused Aragon of using his position as police chief to promote his security business over a service the Fairbanks Police Department offers at no cost.

The letter was read by former Councilwoman Vivian Stiver during a City Council meeting on Sept. 19.

“Hoffman didn’t even attend City Council. (Then-Councilman Jim) Matherly goes off on me, and I’m in Virginia, and I can’t even defend myself,” Aragon said about the meeting. “I wanted to tell you this is a set-up. Why would (Hoffman) send a copy to every media outlet in Alaska?”

“I was tried, sentenced and convicted in that meeting.”

Aragon said he had received a direct call from the business owner, who was referenced in Hoffman's letter, in June requesting a security survey. Aragon said by then he had performed a handful of surveys as a Certified Protection Professional for $600 each and that he advertised by word of mouth.

“I thought she was calling me, for me to do the survey,” Aragon said. “I was on my cellphone and we talked and she’s asking me to come out and do a survey. Unquestionably, I wouldn’t have asked to do something that we were already offering.”

He said he explained to the woman the police department was short “six or seven” officers and that he had a Certified Protection Professional certification, which he said distinguishes his business work from what the department offers.

The investigation by Russell Consulting shows Aragon conducted five surveys for a fee of $600 each, all while he was off-duty and working for his Certified Security Surveys. Aragon also conducted four surveys for no fee while on-duty as police chief.

Aragon said he was disappointed the investigation did not point to any specific policy he violated.

“The investigator said it ‘presented potential conflict of interest.’ My attorney said that is pretty clear. There’s a difference between a potential conflict of interest and a conflict of interest,” Aragon said.

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Information from: Fairbanks (Alaska) Daily News-Miner, http://www.newsminer.com

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