Janesville39.3°

Town of Beloit administrator, cop face off

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ANN MARIE AMES
June 23, 2010
— The Town of Beloit Police Department has a one new sergeant and another under investigation.

The town board Monday voted to approve Chief John Wilson’s recommendation to hire Laura Palmer as a sergeant. Palmer works as a sergeant in the City of Beloit Police Department and has worked as a consultant for Wilson doing investigations in the town.


Town Administrator Bob Museus is not certain when Palmer will start working for the town because she has to give her notice at the city, he told the Gazette.


After Monday’s meeting, Museus asked Sgt. David Dransfield into his office to talk, Museus said.


The talk turned into a shouting match recorded with a video camera by Dransfield’s wife, Connie Hedrington-Dransfield. The Gazette obtained a copy of the recording.


The roughly shot video shows the two men shouting and speaking rudely to each other. Hedrington-Dransfield swore at Museus and town board members who were in the building.


She said they should be happy concealed-carry laws don’t exist.


Museus suspended Dransfield for two days.


But on Tuesday, Museus told the Gazette that he talked to the town’s labor law attorney and that Dransfield is not suspended.


Instead, Dransfield will be investigated, Museus said.


Museus said he was not sure why Dransfield was so upset when the board hired Palmer. The decision does not threaten Dransfield’s job, Museus said.


Dransfield works third shift.


In the video, he and his wife ask why his seniority with the department is being downplayed.


The board voted 3-1-1 in favor of hiring Palmer. Board member Dick Lamott abstained, and new board member Jim Stephens voted against the recommendation.


Palmer’s starting pay will be $61,400, Museus said.


The argument and ensuing investigation is one in a long string of issues in the department.


In December, officer Mike Bogdonas agreed to a 38-day suspension in a settlement prior to a disciplinary hearing.


In March, former Sgt. Willie Abbeglen filed a lawsuit against the department in federal court. The suit claims Wilson made racial comments and demoted Abbeglen in retaliation for a memo written to Wilson by the police union. Abbeglen retired in February.


Also in February, the owner of a Beloit towing company filed a lawsuit in federal court. The suit claims Wilson made racial slurs and discriminated against the towing company owner, who is black.



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