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Charges won't be heard by police commission

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The two men removed from a June 14 meeting of the Hudson Board of Education have withdrawn their complaint to the Hudson Police and Fire Commission about the conduct of the police officers involved in the incident.

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Instead, Curt Weese and Marion Shaw and four of their supporters - James Baker, Mark Pribonic, William Danielson and Steve Hermsen - are opting for an internal police investigation of the matter.

The group decided to pursue their complaint through the police department at an Aug. 10 meeting of the Police and Fire Commission, according to chairman Thomas P. O'Connell.

The purpose of the Aug. 10 meeting, O'Connell said, was to discuss scheduling and procedures for hearing the group's complaint regarding the conduct of officers Glen Hartman, Mark Crimmins and Todd Ludvig.

"We gave them time at the meeting to think it over and talk among themselves," O'Connell said. "And they came back and said they would drop the complaint, and then have a meeting with the chief of police, which they will have soon."

He added, "There's a little more to a hearing with that commission than just coming in to a meeting and making a complaint."

City Attorney Catherine Munkittrick described a police commission hearing on charges of police misconduct as a "quasi-judicial" proceeding.

She said the party bringing the complaint presents evidence and calls witnesses who take an oath to tell the truth.

Both those bringing the complaint and the accused are entitled to be represented by an attorney, and to cross examine the other side's witnesses, Munkittrick said.

The police commission isn't responsible for investigating the charges, she said, but listens to the evidence and makes a decision based on it.

The procedure, she said, is laid out in Chapter 62.13(5) of the Wisconsin Statutes.

Munkittrick said an internal police investigation is a less formal process, with the department looking into the complaint and deciding what discipline is appropriate, if any.

Police Chief Richard Trende said he couldn't comment on the case because it was a personnel issue.

"We'll certainly investigate it when it is in front of us," he did say.

Weese also declined to comment on the complaint.

Randy Hanson can be reached at rhanson@rivertowns.net

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Randy Hanson
Randy Hanson has reported for the Star-Observer since 1997. He came to Hudson after 11 years with the Inter-County Leader at Frederic, and eight years of teaching social studies. He’s a graduate of UW-Eau Claire.
(715) 426-1066
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