10 officer suspensions issued amid high turnover at Green Bay Police
GREEN BAY (WLUK) -- While Green Bay Police is looking for qualified officer candidates, the department is handing out punishments as a result of two internal misconduct investigations.
Chief Andrew Smith says 10 officers have been issued suspensions in the last few weeks. That is on top of three officers who resigned at the start of the internal investigations.
The finishing touches are being put on what Chief Smith calls the most in-depth internal misconduct investigation in the department's history. The focus is the night shift and allegations of officer-on-officer harassment.
Smith says two officers resigned before possible termination. He says another six were issued suspensions ranging between 1 day and 30 days.
Smith says he can't name the officers until the investigation is officially complete.
“We're hoping that in the next month that night shift investigation will be done,” said Smith.
An attorney and board member of the Green Bay Professional Police Association did not return FOX 11’s email requests for comment on the night-shift investigation.
A female officer has filed a discrimination complaint against the city in relation to the harassment investigation.
The department also just released the findings of an investigation into embellished police reports. Smith says Officer Michael Rahn resigned before possible termination. He says three others, Officers Paul Spoerl and Tom Behn, along with Lt. Paul Lewis, were suspended five days each. Spoerl is still on leave, awaiting discipline in a separate incident.
“Some of them were very minor in nature and maybe what could be attributed as an honest mistake, but others were things that just didn't occur,” said Smith.
Green Bay's police union disagrees with the findings of the embellished reports investigation. In a statement, the police association states, “The GBPPA supports the officers involved in this incident and believe that they made reasonable decisions under the stress and potential risks that they faced during this incident.”
Meanwhile, the department continues to interview for its 11 officer openings, which could go up to 23 openings with end of year retirements.
“What we do have is a shortage of qualified applicants,” said Smith. “We're only looking for the best here in Green Bay. We're going to wait until we get those really high quality candidates. People who've demonstrated they have the right character and community orientation to be able to be part of this department.”
Smith says the department had 86 applicants at its most recent round of officer testing.
Compared to this time last year, the department reports overall crime is down nine percent.