Beloit Police Department review results expected next month

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Gina Duwe
August 11, 2015

BELOIT—Results of a second outside review of the Beloit Police Department likely will be available in early September, the city manager said Tuesday.

If charges are warranted against the police chief and deputy chief, a hearing before the police and fire commission could happen in October, City Manager Lori Curtis Luther said.

Curtis Luther offered a progress update Tuesday on the review by Jim Lewis, a former police chief currently serving as interim chief in Green Bay.

His findings will help determine the future of Police Chief Norm Jacobs and Deputy Chief Tom Dunkin. Curtis Luther placed them on paid administrative leave June 16 after a report by Hillard Heintze found serious leadership and management issues.

Jacobs and Dunkin, through their attorneys, have disputed the findings and said the process has been an unfair attack.

The $130,000 Hillard Heintze investigation included 500 hours of interviews of department staff and others, but Lewis' review is more narrowly focused. The first report identified several concerns that were the basis for Lewis' investigation.

“It's a much more focused approach,” Curtis Luther said. “The purpose of that investigation is to look into the actions and inactions of the chief and deputy chief.”

Lewis is interviewing some staff members and reviewing a number of documents and policies.

After a final report is issued in September, the next steps would depend on the findings, she said. If the report indicates charges are warranted, she would forward the recommendation to the city council and then to the police and fire commission for a hearing.

“I don't want anyone to think we are predetermining what that looks like,” she said.

Lewis has an hourly contract with the city: $75 for review of documents and report preparations and $110 for interviews, testimony or presentations, along with expenses paid at standard rates.

“It is absolutely my intent to help move this process along as quickly as possible so that we can have a resolution and start moving forward,” Curtis Luther said.

She now has the final Hillard Heintze report, but she said it still can't be made public because it is part of the investigation. She vowed to release it as soon as she is legally permitted.

When asked if it would be a relief for her to be able to show the public the report on which she has based her decisions, she said, "Yes, exactly.”

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