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Thursday, 15 October 2015 15:35

Download: Final reports and charges regarding the Beloit Police Department

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(Beloit Police Department special coverage HERE)

Beloit City Manager Lori Curtis Luther filed charges, which are non-criminal allegations of mismanagement, Oct. 13, 2015 with the police and fire commission against Police Chief Norm Jacobs and Deputy Chief Tom Dunkin.

A summary of charges against both men

-- Failure to perform job duties in a competent manner. "Both individuals are found to lack fundamental knowledge of policing, laws and basic law enforcement management techniques and a lack of effective leadership,  accountability and supervision over all aspects of the department," Curtis Luther said.

-- Attempting to hire an unqualified candidate with a felony record, including a first-degree sexual assault of a 12-year-old. The man applied to be an officer early this year and falsely answered questions about his record in the application. Curtis Luther said the applicant and Dunkin had a personal relationship. Dunkin attempted, with Jacobs’ knowledge, to have the applicant’s record expunged by providing a letter to a judge, the charges state. Dunkin’s letter states the applicant has "grown to be a young man of positive character," but Dunkin admitted during the investigation that he did not personally know the applicant.

-- Lack of responsiveness to a citizen complaint in regard to a sexual assault investigation. A woman reported to police she was drugged at a bar and repeatedly sexually assaulted in a vehicle and at a home. Another woman reported she believed she was drugged at the same bar and taken in a vehicle by an unknown suspect who attempted to sexually assault her. When she fled, the man fired several gunshots at her. A victim complained the investigation was not thorough or adequate, and Curtis Luther said Jacobs and Dunkin both reviewed the case and stated the department had done all it could. According to the charges, a patrol officer was assigned to handle the case as part of his regular duties, and it took weeks or months for witnesses to be contacted and evidence to be gathered. Curtis Luther said the department could do far more than what was done, and the individuals involved are happy the case is being reinvestigated.

-- Mismanagement of evidence and the property room, including 17 missing or unaccounted for firearms discovered in a recent evidence audit. Curtis Luther said it was "entirely possible" the weapons were destroyed, but they had no evidence to prove that.

-- Failure to ensure department compliance with strip-search statute and to update and ensure compliance with strip-search policy. Only one cell is used for strip searches, police policy states, but that cell has constantly running taped audio and video recording, which is against state law and police policy. One corner of the cell is out of the camera’s view, but policies do not require that detainees be kept in that location during strip searches.

-- Failure to qualify with a firearm. Both men failed to shoot semi-annually as required by policy and failed to properly document their qualifying with a firearm.

-- Release of gambling funds in violation of policy and against the advice of the city attorney. The money was returned after nearly $5,000 was seized from a suspect during a July 2012 arrest.

-- Lack of a personnel early warning system, despite informing the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement that such a system is in place. Such a system is meant to identify employees who many need agency intervention efforts, such as employee assistance programs.

-- Failure to have a criminal intelligence-sharing policy or practice, as required by federal regulations. Failure to properly maintain internal affairs files.

Additional charges against Jacobs

-- Using an untested and unsupported matrix in the hiring process. Jacobs was inconsistent on the points awarded in certain categories, leaving him in a position of being accused of favoritism or discrimination in the hiring process, as well as exposing the city to potential liability. One example: The matrix assigned two points for bilingual candidates, but there was no testing to verify candidates were bilingual.

-- Violation of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act. During a police and fire commission meeting, Jacobs said a candidate would not be hired because she was pregnant. He failed to provide the commission members with relevant facts, such as the fact that the candidate had failed the psychological exam 18 months earlier.

-- Disciplinary counseling issued for sick leave usage in violation of the Family Medical Leave Act.

-- Failure to document internal affairs complaint.



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