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Prescott PD Documents

Prescott PD Documents


 

Interview with Bryan Massman and Ryan Most

On Sunday, October 1st, 2 former employees of the city of Prescott, came to KDWA Radio, to give their experience in a story we have been bringing to listeners since the end of July. Those people were Bryan Massman and Ryan Most. Both men were dismissed from their positions August 8th, as full time officers for the Police Department. Both were hired when Chief Gary Krutke recommended them to the Prescott Police Commission to fill positions on the force. In this interview, which will be posted on the KDWA.com website along with other documents, files and data obtained in the coverage of this story, the former officers provide answers to questions about their dismissal, their assertation of numerous unsubtantiated allegations, inconsistencies inside that department during and after the illness and death of Chief Gary Krutke and their response to actions taken to remove them from their jobs. Just hours after the conclusion of a September 27th meeting KDWA had with the mayor, city administrator and city attorney of Prescott, the full personnel files on both officers was released to the media. Represented in those files were numerous documents which were intended to show officer insubordiation, departure from police policy and other infractions. In our October 1st interview, Officer Bryan Massman first notes a shocking discovery made when these files were released to him on August 28th. Massman tells me of that discovery.

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Officer Most describes a similar result.

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Both stated that proper procedure to be followed if a repremand was called for involved a verbal, then written record of any infraction followed by a signed affirmation from supervisor and subordinate of the event within 72 hours of the incident. That signed document would then be placed in the subject's file. Examination of the files reflect no such signed documents adding that none contained the signature of Chief Krutke. Several authors of documents are noted in both files, including emails and reports that also bear no official signatures.The entire interview with officers Massman and Most, will be placed on the KDWA.com website for public examination. Additional Audio files will also be posted online in the days to come.

Listen to the complete unedited interview:

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Chronology of Events

August 2017

August 6

     KDWA News has received word from the City of Prescott that Chief of Police Gary Krutke passed away Saturday following a lengthy illness. Chief Krutke was named Chief of the City of Prescott in 2014 succeeding Mike R. Bondarenko, who retired after seven years serving that department. We spoke with Prescott Mayor Dave Hovel on Sunday who expressed his sympathy to family and friends, noting that Chief Krutke had battled health issues while serving at the top of that department.

     Notice of the Prescott Police commission was called late last week for a Monday, August 7th meeting to name an acting Chief. With Chief Krutke's passing, according to Mayor Hovel, there is no offically chosen acting chief. The officer in charge is listed as Sergeant Robert Funk, a 25- year law enforcement officer, 14 of which were within the Prescott Department. A decision on the direction of the Prescott Police department, stated Hovel, is expected to begin with Monday night's meeting. Services for Chief Krutke are pending.

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August 8

     We continue our coverage of the passing of Prescott Police Chief Gary Krutke, who served as Chief for 3 years following the retirement in 2014 of former Chief Mike Bondarenko, Chief Gary M. Krutke passed away on August 5th, following a lengthy battle against cancer. A police commission meeting on Monday night met in closed session meaning the public was removed from the council chambers. Those remaining included commission members Bill Pryor, Curt Jacobson, Neil Riley, Cheri Johnson and William Fetzner. Also included in the closed session were 3 members of the Prescott Police department, as well as Patrol officer Rob Funk and city administrator Jayne Brand. When the meeting was reconvened, the announcement was made naming Rob Funk Acting Intrim Chief. Following the decision by the Police Commission, I asked him for his reaction.

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     I also asked what is first on his agenda

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     Following the service, which is anticipated for next week, Funk will begin addressing some changes that will take place.

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     The police commission announced that Interim Chief Funk has been given control of all decisions relating to personnel within that department. I also asked for further details on a second topic discussed in closed session regarding action involving changes in personnel. Interim Chief Funk did not have a comment on those actions and did not know when or if the public would be informed on those actions. The Police Commission is empowered by Wisconsin Statute and is described as an autonomous body of 5 city residents who are appointed by the mayor. Commissioners serve 5 year terms and may be reappointed.

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     Jayne Brand, the Administrator for the City of Prescott, was impressed with the attitude of service to others that the Chief always displayed.

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     Chief Krutke passed away last Saturday after a long illness.

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      The community of Prescott, Wisconsin continues to reflect on the impact made by Chief Gary Krutke, the Chief of Police who succumbed to Cancer on July 5th. The former Prescott Police Chief, Mike Bondarenko who served for seven years prior to his retirement in 2014, offered his perspective on the loss of his friend.

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     He also remembered the passion Krutke expressed in serving Prescott.

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     Services for Chief Krutke will take place in Prescott, with more information expected today on the location, date and time of the funeral.

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August 14

     Remembrances and honorariums will be a lasting legacy of the services planned for Chief Gary Krutke on Wednesday. The family relayed his wish that his department have access to this resource. City administrator Jayne Brand.

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     Brand notes that donations are now being received at the 1st National Bank of Prescott, 1151 Canton Street. Checks can be made to the Gary Krutke K-9 Project.

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August 17

     Services were thoughtfully coordinated on Wednesday by collegues, residents and friends as Prescott gathered to say farewell to their Chief of Police, Gary Krutke. Officers and collegues from departments throughout the Midwest arrived to show their respect. Vehicles with emblems representing St. Cloud, Chippewa Falls, Cottage Grove, EauClaire and several others as well as Wisconsin State Patrol, County Sheriff's Departments and National Guard made a solumn procession as they filed out of the memorial service and slowly wound their way down the hill, through downtown and past the Fire Hall. A group of children from a local day care waited quietly along the boulevard for the procession to pass, showing their support, boy scouts lined the route with hundreds of small flags,and a group of a dozen motorcyclists, parked their bikes and stood in remembrance for one of their own. A K-9 officer stood at attention at the blocked highway intersection , his German Shepherd partner sharing his sorrowfilled howl as the hearse and family cars passed by.

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     With the respectful ceremony of honoring former Chief Gary Krutke concluded, the Police Department of the City of Prescott, will begin a new chapter in service to the people of that city. In the months prior to his passing, several events took place that may shape how that new chapter will be written and by whose hand.

     On June 21st, the personnel committee of the council, chaired by Maureen Otwell and including Joshua Gergen and Darla Hintz, met in closed session to determine sick leave terms for Chief Krutke. According to Robert Funk, the Chief named Funk as Officer in Charge to direct day to day issues as needed in his absence. On July 31st , preceding the death of Chief Krutke,another closed door meeting of the city's personnel committee, determined that action would be taken to grant power in hiring and firing of city employees by then Officer in Charge, Robert Funk.

     On August 2nd, longtime administrative assistant Erin Most was fired. Chief Krutke passed away on August 5th. On the 7th, the Prescott Police commission convened for the first time in 2017. Although the city website lists the policy of the commission as open to the public, another discussion was held in closed session, the 5 members of that appointed citizen commission voting unannimously to name Robert Funk as Acting Chief , including the provision of unfettered control of personnel in the police department, including all hiring and firing decisions. According to the minutes submitted by City Administrator Jayne Brand, in both meetings, a four person contingent from the Prescott Police department also attended the procedings. They included Funk, Sergeant Jesse Neely, Mark Schultz and Eric Michaels, one of which represents the Wisconsin Professional Police Asssociation Union as a steward.

     In a conversation with Mayor Dave Hovel on August 15th, KDWA was told that the Police commission is designed as an autonomous governing body,a statement which is echoed on the city's website. KDWA attended the 36 minute meeting on August 7th, waiting outside the council chambers until the public was allowed to enter, and asked now Interim Chief Funk to comment on the decision announced by the Police commission.

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     I then asked about disciplinary actions referrenced in the agenda.

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     Within 24 hours of that meeting, 2 patrol officers that were hired during Chief Krutke's administration were also fired for unspecified reasons. KDWA has made individual requests for comments from those on the personnel committee as to whether the Police Commission and the personnel committee made the decisions independently or whether a combined agreement resulted in general knowledge of the action to be approved. Those requsts have gone unanswered as of this report.

     In an interview published in the August 17th edition of the Prescott Journal, Interim Chief Funk states that the department's current state is quote contracted, which he explained will address staffing, internal duties, strategic planning for the future and growth. It is not known in what time frame those decisions will be made, whether or not a search is still planned in the selecting of a permanent Chief or who will be responsible for making those decisions.

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     The closed session of the August 14th Prescott City Council meeting produced two actions. Interim Police Chief Rob Funk will be compensated at the rate of $70,000 per year with a $2,500 bonus and an additional week of vacation. The Council also approved a $25,000 grant request from Diversified Manufacturing. The grant will be paid when the certificate of occupancy is issued for their new facility in Prescott.

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August 22

     KDWA continues the reporting on a topic we brought you first on August 17th, relating to questions being asked of the Prescott Police Commission as well as the governing body of the City after information that Interim Police Chief Robert Funk relayed malfeasance reports to the five member volunteer Police Commision who then used the information in those reports to give him hiring and firing control. According to a quote attained by KSTP, a Minnesota Television Station, the President of that commission, William Pryor, relayed statements made by Funk, who indicated there had been what was stated to be a significant violation of the two officer's conduct. Pryor stated that the violation was significant only because of what could have happened. In records posted on the city's website, it states that the Prescott Police Commission met 11 times in 2015, 7 times during 2016 and just once this year.

     When contacted, administration assistant for the police department, Erin Most, an employee for several years, was quoted by the same source as not receiving a reason for her termination. Her position was listed under city staff, not police department staff and came under the control of the city's personnel committee. The two officers in question, named in an email on Sunday by City Administrator Jayne Brand were, Ryan Most and Bryan Massman, officers who had been recommended to be hired by former chief Gary Krutke. Krutke passed away on August 5th. At a city council meeting in May of 2016, the late chief came to the Prescott Council ,with a plea for approval of immediate hiring of more full time police officers due to an extensive amount of time needed to process the murder investigation of the Douglas Bailey case as well as a major case involving drugs and an auto parts theft ring as well as an expected increase in Spring and Summer traffic incidents. Following that council meeting, officers were hired after successfully passing the selection process among a pool containing 22 candidates. An 18 month probationary period is then typical for any new police hires according to personnel procedure. According to the commission statement, there was no specific reason given to the public prior to the August 8th dismissal of Most and Massman. The commission, however, is not required to be consulted as officers in the probationary period are not part of the police union and can be dismissed at any time.

     Interim Chief Funk a 14 year officer for the city, with a total of 25 years in Pierce County, the Private sector and Prescott City law enforcement traveled over the weekend to Jacksonville, Florida, accompanied by 2 other officers of the Prescott Police department to serve as pallbearers at the August 21st family service and interment of former Chief Krutke. Communication with the city last week notes their absence until August 25th. Statements made by Mayor Hovel and City Administrator Brand last week also noted that this transition period will require time and patience, including waiting for the production of a weekly police activity log that had been submitted weekly to the city as well as to print and broadcast media outlets prior to July 31st. KDWA has requested comments reguarding commission decisions with phone calls placed to each council member and Police commission members. Those calls have not been returned. We have also made a request for additional public documents determining the official date Interim Chief Funk was named Officer In Charge during the final months of former Chief Krutke's administration as well as whether the officers are attending the Florida service in an official capacity for the city or are using personel vacation time or sick leave to make the trip. We will continue our report when we receive those documents.

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August 30th

     Questions continue to be unaswered by administration for the city of Prescott in the aftermath of the changes made in the Police department following the death of Chief Gary Krutke. Multiple requests have been made by KDWA Radio as well as other media outlets for hourly timesheets relating to the official transfer timetable between the former chief and current Interim Chief Robert Funk. Additional requests have been made of the city by KDWA reguarding the reinstatement of the police log activity report, for action taken by the department that includes traffic stops, arrests, and officer interaction with the public which ceased to be made available to local print and broadcast media or to the public,as required by Wisconsin Public Access laws. Nearly 4 weeks have passed since KDWA has received the weekly report detailing officer interactions with the public. This information was previously collected and transferred by former administrative assistant Erin Most who was fired on August 2nd.That information is, according to an email received by Interim Chief Funk, currently in transition as the new administration re-sets around the loss of an additional two full-time officers. One of those fired officers, was directed by former chief Krutke to provide regular communication with KDWA , explaining several of the incidents on air for broadcast newscasts. According to the Wisconsin Professional Police Association, the administrative assistant position is listed on their open job board. KDWA has also requested from the Council, Mayor and administrator, public access records relating to expenses incurred, if any, on the part of the City involved with the travel of three police officers, including Interim Chief Funk,.to the Krutke family ceremony in Jacksonville, Florida. Information as to the amount of those expenses have not been received.

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September 2017

September 7

     Continuing discoveries have been made this week with the story we first told you about on August 17th. Following the passing of Prescott Wisconsin Police Chief, Gary Krutke, KDWA news asked questions of the Prescott city council and other city leaders to determine if possible impropriety took place within the police department in the months leading up to and immediately following the chief's death. Initially, records were requested to determine the cause for the sudden firing of 2 officers just hours after the August 5th passing of Chief Krutke. Citing data privacy laws, those requests were declined. An administrative assistant, who worked in the police department, Erin Most, was also dismissed suddenly on August 2nd, for unspecified reasons. Both officers, had been approved for hire by the Prescott Police commission in summer of 2016 as the late chief informed the council that more officers were needed to cover the workload of the department. We were present outside a closed door session July 31st as the police commission viewed employee personnel files for those fired. The officers involved were not informed that a meeting would be held to discuss those files and they were not present to provide their statements to the commission. It has also been revealed that none of the records presented to the commission at that time bore the signature of the late chief, although most incidents cited were represented to have occurred during his tenure. Copies of issues brought to the commission, have since been discoved to have been placed in those files just the day before the meeting.

     Interim Chief Funk and 2 sergeants were present during that meeting,in addition to chair William Pryor and city administrator Jayne Brand. KDWA then requested documents including the timesheets for interim chief Robert Funk. Examination of those timecards show a pattern of overtime hours that were also called into question by the commission and by the council in May of this year for exceeding expected pay totals. According to a statement by the city administrator, the hours reflected additional work for the Douglas Bailey murder case, which was completed in December of 2016. Overtime marked for Robert Funk during those months totaled approximately $9,000. We also requested the timecards and payout records for Sergeant Erik Michaels, Sergeant Mark Schultz and Jesse Neely dating back to September of 2016, which are expected to be received yet this week. Related records also indicate that a 2,500 bonus was approved at the August 7th closed door meeting, giving Funk additional back pay for duties he supposedly shouldered during the final weeks of Chief Krutke's life. At that time he also received the full power to hire and fire personnel unilaterally without additional input from the commission. The commission also approved a salary for the interim chief at 70,000 dollars. As our investigation continues, we await receipt of additional documents, including a 6 week gap of Police daily activity logs that have not been received that should provide a clearer look at the department's use of taxpayer dollars.

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September 8

     Questions concerning the hiring protocol are being asked of the city of Prescott regarding the Police department as part time officers are expected to be hired for the short term to fill out the scheduled shifts, including those of two full time officers fired last month. Interim Chief Robert Funk was provided power to hire and fire part time officers as needed without benefit of reconvening the police commission, due to the decision made on August 7th of this year by the Prescott Police Commission. The commission chair, William Pryor, spoke with KDWA on Thursday, providing the process used by the city to qualify candidates seeking full time employment and relaying how that selection is done. And According to Pryor, that eligibility list may or may not be used to select part-time employees as well . KDWA radio has discovered information detailing the criminal charges of one new hire Jason S. Hickok, a former Barron county Wisconsin, sheriff's deputy who was arrested in a domestic dispute in 2014 in that county involving 2015 charges of battery, false imprisonment, criminal damage to property and disorderly conduct. According to EauClaire TV News, WQOW, Hickok resigned from the sheriff's office shortly after the charges were filed. Commissioner Pryor noted that the eligibility list of potential hires, may be added to and subtracted from, but that thorough and updated background checks prior to hiring should discover prohibitive charges or convictions made after being placed on a potential hire list. .KDWA also asked for a comment on the hiring procedures and vetting process currently employed by the city and late on Thursday, we heard from city administrator Jayne Brand who disputed information relating to the ongoing line of reports by KDWA Radio. She anticipated more comments on behalf of the city will be released in the days to come.

     Additional Information: A law office in Wisconsin confirms that criteria listed in the Wisconsin Law Enforcement Standards Board state that, indeed, not all convictions prevent a candidate from obtaining a job in law enforcement, especially in Wisconsin. However, each jurisdiction and agency does have specific regulations within their protocol meaning that individuals with felony, and certain misdemeanor convictions/arrests will be disqualified from becoming a law enforcement officer. The Fair Employment Act, however, prohibits discrimination based on a conviction record unless the circumstances surrounding the conviction are substantially related to the circumstances of the particular job. This could mean those who have been arrested or convicted might still have an opportunity to apply for and be hired in the field of law enforcement.

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September 11

     Following last week's reports regarding decisions made by the head of the Prescott Police Department, KDWA owner Dan Massman took to the air on Friday making an editorial statement that included concern for that agency in the weeks since the death of Chief Gary Krutke. The comments, according to Massman, were prompted by the hiring of a part time office, who was revealed had a background of domestic abuse related charges against him. That decision approved by Interim Chief Funk

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Massman then asked for action from those involved.

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September 14

     The official newspaper of Prescott, The Prescott Journal, published new information on a subject this station first began covering in early August. According to statements credited to Interim Chief Funk in an article published Wednesday by reporter Sean Scallon, Officer Jason S. Hickok was hired in early July, weeks in advance of a July 31st closed door meeting and the August 7th pronouncement by the Police Commission for Officer Funk to have hiring authority. As we reported weeks ago, our conversation with Commissioner Bill Pryor contained his assertation that an eligibility list was one of the resources used to select qualified candidates that would be considered for hire by the Prescott Police Department. Today, KDWA will request documents that were used by Interim Chief Robert Funk in his determination that Officer Hickok met the standards of what Funk was quoted to have "deemed acceptable to hire", despite the revolation that Hickok had faced charges of domestic battery, in an incident while a Barron County Sheriff's deputy in 2014.

     KDWA will also request the criteria used to approve such hires including field training and background checking procedure. In a related issue, KDWA was mailed an anonymous letter, which arrived on Wednesday. The unknown writer, in fact, questions the existence of an eligibility list of law enforcement candidates that have been represented to have gone through necessary background or other vetting processes in preparation for approval for hire by the Prescott Police Department.   In our interview with Police Commissioner Pryor he states there is such a list. We will ask the commission the current number of officers on that list, how many and what type of background checks are done, the cost incurred by the city for each report. Funk states in the newspaper article, that he conducted complete background checks, that he required Officer Hickok to complete an application and that the officer was "deemed acceptable to hire".KDWA Radio News also extendeds the opportunity to news reporter Scallon, members of the Prescott Police Department , Police Commission or any representative of the city to engage in an on-air conversation concerning this story to further inform the public on this topic.

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September 18

     KDWA news department continues to wait for copies of public access documents from the administration of the City Of Prescott detailing travel costs and employee pay for staff to attend the late Chief's family funeral held in Jacksonville Florida on August 21st. Those requests were first made on August 29th, nearly 3 weeks ago. Records for timecard confirmation have now been requested from Pierce County administration in Ellsworth. KDWA has received a 35 page backlog of previously unavailable documents dating to July 31st. Those document Daily Activity logs kept by that department for public record. They have been missing from our newscasts and also from the local paper since late July.

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September 20

     More clarity now in our understanding of costs incurred by the city for 2 squad cars and 3 officers to travel to Jacksonville Florida for the family service and burial of Chief Gary Krutke. According to the city administrator, just over 700 dollars in fuel and 950 dollars in lodging costs were paid by the city for Interim Chief Funk, Sergeant Mark Schultz and Officer Eric Michaels to attend the family ceremony. The wages paid to the officers or use of vacation or personal time, during their absence, however, has not been confirmed.

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September 21

     The Prescott Police commission will meet for the second time this year , this evening, Thursday, September 21st beginning at 6:30 pm. at the Municipal Building, 800 Borner Street. On the brief agenda outline which was supplied on Wednesday Morning to KDWA, a report will be given by Interim Chief Funk, discussion and description of Limited Term Position is next on the docket, followed by the commission clearing the room to convene in closed session for the consideration of employment, promotion, compensation or performance evaluation data involving Police Officer Hiring. As directed by the commission at the meeting held on August 7th, Interim Chief Funk currently has the latitude to hire and fire part time officers. The police officer hiring topic on the agenda could involve continuation of acting chief Funk, a permanent hire for the Chiefs postition, the notice of a search for a new chief, the hiring of full time officers or any number of actions. Once the closed session is completed, a vote or other action will be taken on the part of the commission. The 5-person Copmmission is chaired by Bill Pryor. We will provide the result of that vote when available.

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September 22

     The meeting of the Prescott Police Commission began at 7pm on Thursday evening with Chair Bill Pryor calling the meeting to order. First on the agenda was the approval of minutes from the August 7th meeting then Pryor asked for a report from Interim Chief Robert Funk who provided an overview of the transitional period noting that daily activity log records are once again being released regularly as before and a new software system has been implemented for better tracking of which officers are formally assigned to each case. The report continued in regard to the caseload and the department's shortage of officers, although Funk praised the part time staff for filling in on shifts when needed. He also mentioned two of the biggest cases currently requiring manhours, the Dennis Frank felony assault case and the Parametter attempted abduction case.

     The Frank case occurred on August 15th, the day before Chief Krutke's funeral service. Funk stated Pierce County was asked to come in and take the lead due to the timing of the incident and again, a shortage of officers available to work the case. The report continued with concerns over new traffic patterns that have developed now that school is back in session around the Malone Intermediate School and elementary school where excessive speed has been the subject of complaints. Issues have been noted at Campbell and St Croix streets. A conversation is planned to involve more input by crossing guards. The report also noted that Prescott Daze and the following Flood Run each had minimal involvement from law enforcement , citing only one arrest during each event. We'll continue with more from the Prescott Police Commission meeting in our next newscast. You can also hear and read the full story at KDWA.com

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     The Prescott Police Commission met for just the second time this year on Thursday, September 21st. The chair for the 5 member volunteer commission called the meeting to order, with all members in attendance Chair Bill Pryor, and members Curt Jacobson, Neil Riley, Cheri Johnson and William Fetzner first heard a 10 minute report by Interim Chief Robert Funk. This reporter noted there were no representatives from the city present during the open portion of the meeting nor any other residents or interested attendees. One of the main topics in his report were the shortages of officers in the department, currently 6 full time officers and 5 part time officers. With the absence of the late Chief Krutke and the two full time officers who were fired in August, Funk stated that creative methods should be considered to provide the level of service necessary for the town of approximately 4250 residents. He proposed a temporary solution to the challenge using limited term employees or short term hires, perhaps between 4-6 months until some long term solutions could be phased in. Reaction from the commission was measured with Pryor, Johnson and Riley questioning the likely cost of such a plan. The temporary fix would mean incurring unemployment claims when they reached the end of their term.

     Also voiced was the concern of investing resources needed to qualify and train a temporary hire, then have to start over with someone new. The commission then announced they would clear the chambers for a closed session. The council doors reopened at approximately 7:40 for pubic action on the topics discussed in private. Two items were voiced for the vote, the first to approve a timetable of just under a month for which to advertise openings for both part time and for full time officers. The deadline to apply will be October 19th. It was also approved to have the commission meet again on Monday, October 16th to review the applications and possibly thin the candidate number down if a large quantity would be have to be processed. The next step would be to have commissioners score the candidates further qualifying them for possible hire.

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     In an interview published in the Prescott Journal, prior to a Police Commissioners Thursday night meeting Interim Chief Robert Funk provided additional information on decisions made this summer when he served as second in command behind Chief Gary Krutke, who passed away on August 5th. Funk said that a recent hire, Jason Hickok, is still undergoing field training which consists of up to 300 hours of situation assessments that can vary from person to person in how long it will take for completion. That choice, despite charges of domestic abuse in Barron County, was made on July 5,when Funk asserted was just the Officer-In-Charge. He served in that capacity due to the medical leave status of Chief Krutke, who passed away shortly after Hickok was hired. Funk addressed the protocol with a quote from that interview which read "we were advised by Chief Krutke to review Hickok's application, proceed with the process and if acceptable, bring Hickok in as a part time hire."

     Funk was also quoted in a September 14th Journal interview as saying " Hickok went through a full background check and application process and was deemed acceptable to hire." Funk also noted that Field training is considered a qualifying time that allows a department to assess whether the candidate has what is needed to serve as a Police Officer. There was no indication on how many of those possible 300 hours of field training Officer Hickok has completed. More on the Prescott Police commission's decisions will be featured on an upcoming newscast.

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September 25

     A decision made on September 21st by the Prescott Police Commission will open the application process for both part time and full time officers to bring the department back to full staffing levels. KDWA will request from the City records and from Pierce County records containing documentation for payroll information for two officers fired in August as well as the administrative assistant who was also terminated.

September 26

     The Prescott City Council will consider bids to update security and access control for the Prescott Police Headquarters during its meeting on September 25th. The bids, submitted by Security Control Systems, estimated costs for different types of access control systems. The estimates ranged in price from approximately $1,200 for rekeying current locks to $7,540 for a keycard system with computer monitoring. The City Council meets at 6:30PM.

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     The Prescott City Council will consider 2 nominations during the City Council meeting of September 25th. The Police Commission has recommended Ken McNiff to the Police Commission, and Jill Boros is recommended for the Library Board. The City Council is expected to render a decision on the nominations at the meeting.

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September 29

     KDWA requested a meeting with top members of the Prescott Municipal leadership, asking for comments on a series of questions centered on the protocol and policies within the Prescott Police department involving transparency and oversight of scheduling, efficiency and employee responsibility. Among the questions posed to City Attorney Phil Helgeson, Mayor Dave Hovel and City Administrator Jayne Brand was a matter of accounting for the number of hours worked by several of the employees whose city timecard documentation often differed from time reported by matching records that are kept by Pierce County. At question were many officer shifts that provided no check in time, or no log out time. We asked the city administrator about the missing documentation.

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     Log in and log out time is tracked by Pierce County by radio contact that notes in military time, the hour, minute and second when radio contact is made for coming on to a shift, information requests from dispatch and also for logging out at the completion of a shift.

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     More questions about possible fiscal impropriety that has been associated with some officers within the Prescott Police department. On September 27th, KDWA met with city leaders to ask for clarification of policies involving accurate accounting of employee hours. Public access documents were requested by KDWA from the city and also from Pierce County to be compared for officers Neeley, Schultz, Michaels, Most and Massman , the latter two who were fired by Interim Chief Robert Funk on August 8th involving a decision made by the Prescott Police Commission. Our review of those records show a diverse range of compliance by each in the practice of logging in, logging out, completing paperwork and filling in dispositions according to policy, after each call.

     We also discovered that an email was sent to all full and part-time officers at the end of May this year by Training Coordinator Eric Michaels, admonishing some officers for habitually disregarding the directive as stated on numerous prior occasions by then Chief Krutke.The email reitterated the need for strict compliance of using the CIS or Computer Information System and noted that many warnings and communications had been largely ignored. Laptop computer systems, purchased by the city for each officer to log into the system were not being used consistently, according to the email, a protocol used to confirm activity, location and the hours of individuals. The email concluded with Michaels ending the reminders, with any breaches to be written up in a formal notice to be dealt with by the chief. The chief, however was undergoing medical treatment, requiring others including Interim Chief Robert Funk to handle administrative duties in his absence. This question was posed to the city for their response and KDWA Radio will air that when received.

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October 2107

October 2

     As investigation continues that has uncovered irregularities within the Prescott Police Department, another disturbing facet now involves the family of the former Chief of Police Gary Krutke. Information has now been received that several improper actions may have been taken by City Attorney Phil Helgeson. The late chief's brother and mother met with Helgeson in Prescott on August 4th, the day before the Chief's death. The attorney informed them he had an updated version of Gary's will, providing directions for dispersal of the chief's property at his death. Prior to this meeting Gary had traveled to Georgia, where his brother and mother reside, just weeks before his death, and assured them his will was in order, written and witnessed on May 2nd, just a day before he was to have undergone surgery for cancer. The chief described items that were to go to members of the family and that they should come back to Wisconsin and retrieve them in the event he did not survive. Brother Greg did drive Gary back to Wisconsin on July 17th as Gary was not able to make the trip alone. He then flew back to Georgia. Just 2 weeks later,the family was informed of the Chief's rapidly declining health, and brother and Mother JoAnn flew to Wisconsin where they met with Helgeson on August 4th. He told them the new version of Gary's will needed to be signed for it to be valid. Due to the chief's physical condition, however, it was not signed.

     The family did, however, have a photo of the original, signed will which was also in the posession of Helgeson. According to the family, on the day before the Prescott funeral, they met again with city attorney Helgeson asking if it was possible for him to represent them at probate. Both brother and mother acknowledge they were given a monetary estimate by Helgeson of what it would cost to represent them . The family stated that they made the request as they believed Helgeson had at one time represented the former chief in legal matters and they wanted to use someone known to them. The family returned to Florida on the 17th, in order to hold the burial services in Jacksonville. Following those services they traveled back to Georgia and waited for more contact with Helgeson. According to the brother, his call to Helgeson on September 26th to determine the progress of the probate was now met with a statement that there might be a conflict of interest in him representing the family and that he would have to do some checking but would get back to them. There has been no further contact. KDWA contacted Helgeson by phone for his comment on statements made by the Krutke family. We were instructed to email them to his law firm, located in Hudson. We continue to await his reply. Meanwhile questions concerning these actions have been forwarded to the Wisconsin State Board of Attorneys as well as the Wisconsin Professional Police Associaton and the Wisconsin Attorney General.

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     On Sunday, October 1st, 2 former employees of the city of Prescott, came to KDWA Radio, to give their experience in a story we have been bringing to listeners since the end of July. Those people were Bryan Massman and Ryan Most. Both men were dismissed from their positions August 8th, as full time officers for the Police Department. Both were hired when Chief Gary Krutke recommended them to the Prescott Police Commission to fill positions on the force. In this interview, which will be posted on the KDWA.com website along with other documents, files and data obtained in the coverage of this story, the former officers provide answers to questions about their dismissal, their assertation of numerous unsubtantiated allegations, inconsistencies inside that department during and after the illness and death of Chief Gary Krutke and their response to actions taken to remove them from their jobs. Just hours after the conclusion of a September 27th meeting KDWA had with the mayor, city administrator and city attorney of Prescott, the full personnel files on both officers was released to the media. Represented in those files were numerous documents which were intended to show officer insubordiation, departure from police policy and other infractions.

     In our October 1st interview, Officer Bryan Massman first notes a shocking discovery made when these files were released to him on August 28th. Massman tells me of that discovery. Officer Most describes a similar result.Both stated that proper procedure to be followed if a repremand was called for involved a verbal, then written record of any infraction followed by a signed affirmation from supervisor and subordinate of the event within 72 hours of the incident. That signed document would then be placed in the subject's file. Examination of the files reflect no such signed documents adding that none contained the signature of Chief Krutke. Several authors of documents are noted in both files, including emails and reports that also bear no official signatures.The entire interview with officers Massman and Most, will be placed on the KDWA.com website for public examination. Additional Audio files will also be posted online in the days to come. The city of Prescott has provided KDWA with updated information concerning comparison of official timecards for several officers in the Prescott Police Department over the past 18 months.   

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     In another segment from our new exclusive interview that features the voices and viewpoints of the two former Prescott Police officers, fired August 8th of this year, following the death of Chief Gary Krutke, we hear about a program described by former Prescott Police Officers Ryan Most and Bryan Massman who revealed that infractions noted in the officers file related to weaponry that was part of a program, called 1033, which enabled local law enforcement departments to request surplus equipment that military sources were no longer in need of. Such equiptment, according to the officers, were varied and could include vehicles, such as ATVs, and even firearms. A number of guns had been requested by the Prescott Department, but in my exchange with officer Most, he explained how they were distributed to individual officers.

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Officer Massman reported that the storage of these weapons were noted as an infraction in his file, he explains.

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Both officers noted that none of the guns were utilized nor did they leave the department. Our complete conversation, totaling more than 60 minutes, will be posted soon on the KDWA.com webpage for public examination.

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     As investigation continues uncovering irregularities within the Prescott Police Department, another facet now involves the family of the former Chief of Police Gary Krutke. Information has now been received that questions actions taken by City Attorney Phil Helgeson. The late chief's brother and mother told KDWA that they met with Helgeson in Prescott on August 4th, the day before the Chief's death. The attorney informed them he had drafted an updated version of Gary's will, providing directions for dispersal of the chief's property at his death. Prior to this meeting Gary had traveled to Georgia, where his brother and mother reside, just weeks before his death, and assured them his will was in order, written and witnessed on May 2nd, just a day before he was to have undergone surgery for cancer. The chief described items that were to go to members of the family and that they should come back to Wisconsin and retrieve them in the event he did not survive. Brother Greg did drive Gary back to Wisconsin on July 17th as Gary was not able to make the trip alone. He then flew back to Georgia. Just 2 weeks later,the family was informed of the Chief's rapidly declining health, and brother and Mother JoAnn flew back to Wisconsin where they met with Helgeson on August 4th. He told them a new version of Gary's will needed to be signed and the pair and the attorney went to the hospital. Due to the chief's physical condition, however, it was not possible for the chief to sign the new document. The family did, however, have a photo of the original, signed will which was also in the posession of Helgeson.

     According to the family, on the day before the Prescott funeral, they met again with city attorney Helgeson asking if it was possible for him to represent them at probate. At that time they discussed property and concerns of ownership of property known to have been owned by the chief. This included vehicles, jewelry and collectible firearms that were kept at the Prescott home. Both brother and mother acknowledge they were given a monetary estimate by Helgeson of what it would cost to represent them . The family stated that they made the request as they believed Helgeson had at one time represented the former chief in legal matters and they wanted to use someone known to them. The family returned to Florida on the 17th, to oversee the burial services in Jacksonville. Following those services they traveled back to Georgia and waited for more contact with Helgeson. According to the brother, his call to Helgeson in the morning of September 19th to determine the progress of the probate was now met with a statement that there might be a conflict of interest in him representing the family and that he would have to do some checking but would get back to them. There has been no further contact.

     KDWA contacted Helgeson by phone for his comment on statements made by the Krutke family. We were instructed to email them to his law firm, located in Hudson. An email reply was sent on October 2nd with the statement Helgeson would have no comment on any of the questions sent to him on this matter. Meanwhile, these questions and other information has been forwarded to the Wisconsin State Board of Attorneys as well as the Wisconsin Professional Police Associaton and the Wisconsin Attorney General.

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     Our questions continue regarding the reported practice that was acknowledged last week by the City Administrator for the City of Prescott. According to statements made on September 27th by Jayne Brand, the benefit of a flex or comp time arrangement was made with one member of the Prescott Police Department, Inspector Jesse Neeley, in exchange for a regularly accounting constant 40 hour week. This arrangement was brought to the attention of the Wisconsin Professional Police Association who responded on Monday. Executive Director Jim Palmer told KDWA radio how such an arrangement was viewed by the labor union.

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According to Palmer, a procedure would be initiated by the local association.

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The contracts are rank specific.

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Questions directed to the city about differing contracts for different ranks within the department have not been answered as of this airing.

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October 5

     KDWA continues our coverage in the search for relevant information involving the unanswered questions that have been asked in Prescott this summer. On Wednesday, KDWA was sent three additional documents by City Administrator Jayne Brand that had been requested earlier in the hiring of a part time officer Jason Hickok. In an interview published September 14th in the Prescott Journal, Interim Police Chief Rob Funk stated that Hickok had been pre-approved by late Chief Krutke and was hired on July 5th. This, despite knowing the officer had been charged in 2014 with false imprisonment and battery in a domestic incident while employed with Dunn County Wisconsin as a sheriff's deputy. The charges remained on his record, although they were bargained down to misdemeanors from a felony. According to Funk, he deemed the officer acceptable for hiring.

     A document sent to KDWA on September 19th shows a heavily redacted payroll sheet with the officer's name and July 5th written on it. There were no hours represented, however. On October 4th, we received additional timesheets, beginning with the date of August 25th. According to the latest documents, 90 hours have now been completed by Officer Hickok. Brand stated that there are just 3 documents involved with tracking the hours of Hickok. KDWA continues to ask for transparency in the decisions that will be made by the Interim Chief and the Police commission in the hiring process which is currently underway.

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October 12

     The Prescott Police Commission will hold a regular meeting on Monday, October 16th. Interim Chief of Police Rob Funk will deliver his regularly-scheduled report on departmental activities to the Commission. Also included on the Agenda is a closed session for the Commission to discuss the progress of hiring two Police Officers. According to the City of Prescott website, The Prescott Police Department is establishing an eligibility list to fill both part and full time Police Officer Positions. The application deadline for the positions is October 19th.

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     More information was released from the Prescott Police Department this week, included in a story printed in the Prescott Journal. Reporter Sean Scallon was told by Interim Chief Rob Funk and City Administrator Jayne Brand that the information regarding timing of the release of confidential personnel records for 2 officers fired in August was an obligation to respond to a request made by the media and not as a retalitory move. Brand also told the local publication that there was an explanation for doctored timesheets that KDWA news revealed to the public on their website. Those timesheets, submitted in June for Investigator Jesse Neeley, were requested by KDWA in early August. They were received and reviewed for content. A meeting requested by KDWA with members of the city including Mayor Dave Hovel, City Administrator Jayne Brand and City Attorney Phil Helgeson took place on September 27th, at which time documents were produced that suggest time was placed on time sheets that represented hours worked by Investigator Neeley, when in fact he was hundreds of miles away on a hunting trip vacation and not in Prescott on duty.

     Two days after those records were shown to the city, revised versions of at least 4 specific timesheets were then sent with what were termed corrected hours. Hours listed on the corrected timesheet cited flex time amounting to 34.5 hours left over from work done during the previous pay period. According to terms of the contract signed by all city employees, falsification of timesheets is one action that may be used for discipline that may also include dismissal. In the Journal story, Funk is quoted as saying it is his duty as a chief to look at employee time cards, confirm their accuracy, and then sign them as valid.The last authorization on timecards made by Chief Krutke was May 1st with questioned timesheets falling only after Interim Chief Funk was placed in charge of those responsibilities. The original timesheets were submitted with Rob Funk's signature, his confirmation of their accuracy. The timesheets provided after that September 27th meeting, do not contain the current chief's signature. With caseloads handled daily by the officers dependant upon credibility and transparency, it is not yet known how the anticipated hiring of 2 new officers, will influence public confidence .

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     The reporter for the Prescott Journal, Sean Scallon, conducted an interview on October 9th, with Prescott City Administrator Jayne Brand and Interim Chief Rob Funk to provide them with a public platform with which to address information uncovered by KDWA radio. The information provided to the newspaper selected five from at least a dozen topics brought into question over the past 90 days regarding the protocol and practices of that public safety department. According to the article on newsstands October 11th, Funk states that Mayor Hovel, the late chief Krutke and the city were aware that an arrangement for flex time was well known, designed to save the city money and not in conflict with their union contract. KDWA spoke directly with the Wisconsin Professional Police Association Executive Director Jim Palmer who states such an arrangement outside of the Union contract would not be allowed.

     Funk further represents that no grievance was filed citing this arrangement and that the Jeryl Vonderheid, the regional representative from Eau Claire has been made aware of the arrangement outside of the contract. We will connect with Mr. Vonderheid for his reaction to this and have his statement when received.The Journal interview also did not provide requested proof of the existance of a hiring pool of pre-qualified, vetted candidates ,did not explain the hiring decision made in placing Jason Hickok on the payroll on July 5th despite documents that showed his first shift did not happen until September 23rd and did not mention the reported stack of unsubstantiated accusations that appeared at the end of July in previously empty personnel files of the two fired officers. KDWA will continue to ask the necessary questions concerning these topics and others. We have also extended the opportunity for any persons who believe their voice is not represented, to be afforded air time on this station.

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October 16

     The Prescott Police Commission will convene at 6:30 pm this evening. Following a report by Interim Chief Rob Funk, which is open to the public, the meeting will then be closed per state statute, to discuss more charges that have been brought, this time by Prescott resident, Jeffrey Lakela, following an incident that took place on November 2nd of 2016. The complaint involves two Prescott Police officers who Lakela states conducted illegal actions against him including assault. Federal charges were also brought against one of the same officers in November of 2016 after another Prescott resident, Michael Durham, found two officers in his home late at night, following a call by a neighbor on a wellness check. Citing unlawful search and seizure, that case was reportedly brought to the city asking for a monetary award for pain and other damages. The status of that suit was not disclosed to the public. Tonight's meeting will also involve a preview of applications submitted, ahead of Thursday's deadline for possible candidates for 2 open police officer positions, vacant since the firing of Bryan Massman and Ryan Most on August 8th of this year. The meeting takes place at the Prescott Municipal Building , 800 Borner Street in Prescott.

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October 17

     Monday's Prescott Police Commision Meeting began with a report by Interim Chief Robert Funk. Included in the presentation was an overview of pedestrian crossings and the effectiveness versus the increased near St. Croix and Campbell Streets. A new plan will be introduced that may call for additional guards during peak hours. Next on the report was the announcement that a new Administrative assistant has been hired. Jennifer LaCasse was named to that position. Funk also announced that a new scheduling system will document time for employees in that department with realtime scheduling listed for employees through online interaction and the ability for each officer to connect with the schedule on their smartphones or on a computer. This was the end of the chief's report. The chair then called for a motion to close the session at 6:40, with Mr. Jeffery Lakela allowed to remain to present his information on charges he has filed on actions by two Prescott Police in a November 2nd, 2016 incident. Just 10 minutes after that, Lakela left the session and spoke

Permanent link to this article: http://kdwa.com/prescott-pd-documents/