BELOIT -- Taking a stroll through Beloit’s Riverside Park on Friday evenings throughout the summer, walkers can enjoy the sounds of jazz or blues music playing in the background. If they return Monday, they’ll notice dancers twirling the night away.
BELOIT -- Rank-and-file members of the Beloit Police Association last week voted no confidence in their beleaguered Police Chief, Norm Jacobs, and Deputy Chief Tom Dunkin.
The vote came as city administration is working to launch an internal investigation of management of the police department.
Beloit City Manager Lori Curtis Luther on June 16, placed Police Chief Norm Jacobs and Deputy Chief Tom Dunkin on administrative after receiving a preliminary report from the consultant the city hired to study the department.
The contents and specific allegations in the report have not been made public, and Curtis Luther denied an open records request from the Gazette to release the report.
Jacobs, through his attorney Robert Mihelich, maintains Curtis Luther has no authority to place him on leave.
Under usual circumstances, the police and fire commission would decide whether to place a chief on administrative leave pending a resolution of the charges, not the city manager, according to Mihelich.
The city's consultant, Hillard Heintze, a Chicago-based investigation, risk and security management company was paid $130,000 for the study. The city was considering hiring a separate division of Hillard Heintze to conduct the internal investigation, however concerns were raised about the impartiality of the investigation. The city then decided to seek another firm to handle the investigation.
Last week's vote by members of the BPA cited concerns over management of the department that have stretched back several years.
"Those concerns have been met with a blind eye, deaf ears, and a heavy hand, and that has had a demoralizing impact on the officers that have dedicated themselves to keeping this community safe," Jim Palmer, executive director of the Wisconsin Professional Police Association wrote in a news release.
The Wisconsin Professional Police Association, or WPPA, represents the Beloit Police Association.
While officers were attempting to be more assertive in their crime prevention efforts, Jacobs and Dunkin urged officers to focus on things like parking tickets and traffic citations, according to Palmer.
"For these reasons, the members of the Beloit Patrolmen’s Association have overwhelmingly determined that they have no confidence in the ability of Jacobs and Dunkin to lead their agency," according to the news release.
While Jacobs and Dunkin are on leave, David Zibolski has been hired as interim chief. Zibolski previously served as the deputy administrator for the Division of Law Enforcement Services with the Wisconsin Department of Justice. He also worked for the Milwaukee Police Department for 27 years and retired as a
Palmer emphasized that the vote should not undermine the public’s confidence in the Beloit Police Department or its officers.
"They remain committed to serving this city, and they have already noted an improvement in their morale as a result of Interim Chief Zibolski’s professionalism and accessibility," according to the news release.
LOVES PARK -- While social media is becoming an important crime-fighting tool, it also opens police up to the wide world of inaccurate information, complainers and Internet trolls.
BELOIT -- Beloit Health System applauded the Supreme Court’s decision Thursday, June 25, 2015 to uphold tax credits for Wisconsin residents with health insurance purchased from the federally-run insurance marketplace. The plaintiffs in King v. Burwell had asked the court to end the credits claiming that the Accountable Care Act allowed premium tax credits only for consumers purchasing coverage in a state-run insurance exchange.
BELOIT -- The city of Beloit and its consultant have changed course in their plans to conduct an internal investigation of the city's police department.
STATELINE NEWS -- Here’s the paradox of Beloit: The city is a vibrant community that is home to a wide range of cultural events, recreational activities and a thriving business community.
On any given Friday, for example, residents and visitors can listen to live music while having a casual lunch downtown. Later in the evening, they can dance the night away at Riverside Park.Saturday mornings, downtown is jammed with shoppers picking through fresh produce at one of the largest farmers markets in southern Wisconsin.
High-tech companies like NorthStar Medical Radioisotopes, which hopes to supply radioactive isotopes for the health care industry, have found a home here, along with home-grown firms like Beloit-based ABC Supply, which has grown to have a global reach.
But the city, with a population of 37,000, also is increasingly frustrated with its police department.
WALWORTH COUNTY SUNDAY -- Lynne Jacobsen laments she was born 150 years too late.
"I love anything from the 1800s," the Janesville resident wrote in an email. "If it’s not raining or snowing, I am cooking on my brazier (a portable container for fire) outside. I cook and bake everything from scratch, usually organic and homegrown. I love making things with my hands as my Norwegian and Polish grandmothers did."
Beloit Police Chief Norm Jacobs and Deputy Chief Tom Dunkin have been placed on administrative leave, according to a city of Beloit news release issued by City Manager Lori S. Curtis Luther,
ROCKTON -- Old Settlers Days is your ticket to summer fun. The four-day festival runs from June 18, 2015 through June 21, 2015 in downtown Rockton. A general admission ticket for all four days costs $6. Enjoy great country music at the Bryden Ram Jam Main Stage -- a separate concert ticket is required.
SOUTH BELOIT -- A community event, Meet Me at the Confluence, will be held Saturday, June 13, 2015 to give residents the opportunity to learn about plans to transform the area in South Beloit where the Rock River and Turtle Creek meet into a community space that celebrates the natural and historical significance of the land.