Town requests review of former police chief
Former Chief Andrew Mayer is suspected of theft, misconduct in office, obstructing an officer and party to impersonating a police officer, according to investigative materials developed during a town investigation and obtained by The Janesville Gazette.
District Attorney Phil Koss received the materials from a town official last week. He said referrals normally come from police agencies, but he said the reports warrant further investigation.
“We still have to look at everything and take it seriously,” he said. “I’m just starting to go through this, but we’re a busy office.”
Koss said he would look over the file before determining if it should go to a prosecutor in a different county to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest.
Mayer declined Thursday to comment about the specific allegations but said he has nothing to hide.
When asked if he was worried about being charged criminally, Mayer said, “Absolutely not. That (decision) is obviously up to the district attorney’s office, but I have never been questioned by anybody regarding any of these allegations.”
According to the reports, Mayer:
-- Withheld information from another police chief who was investigating Mayer for reportedly driving drunk last May.
-- Paid a former administrative assistant Carol Hansen for hours she didn’t work and added hours to her timecard without authorization.
-- Drove a police car to Illinois for personal business.
-- Allowed Hansen to carry a holstered gun while performing security duties—including during a visit by President Bush to Walworth County—even though she no longer was a sworn officer.
Town attorney Steve Wassel said he conducted an investigation of Mayer while Mayer was still chief. Wassel turned his investigative materials over to the town board last year.
Wassel said it was a board decision to send the file to the district attorney’s office.
Mayer was fired without cause in early October. Hansen was fired a short time later, Clerk Dixie Bernsteen said.
The town has never commented on a reason for Mayer’s release. Mayer has said he believed it was “politically motivated” for “performing my duties as a sworn officer.”
Town Chairman Wayne Polzin said the firing was within the contract, which says the police and fire commission can remove Mayer “without cause” and that he is entitled to 10 days severance pay for every year of service with the department.
Mayer was hired in 1999. He is running for town board supervisor because he’d “like to restore the integrity to the town board.”
His attorney, Tom Halloran, said the timing suggests an attempt to smear Mayer’s campaign.
“What’s very curious to me is now, six months later, they feel the need to go public with this information,” Halloran said, noting the town did the investigation before Mayer was fired.
“There’s only one thing that’s going on now that wasn’t going on then. It’s kind of like an ‘Alice in Wonderland.’ It’s curious.”
Polzin said the town board decided in December to refer the allegations to the district attorney’s office, before Mayer decided to run for office.