Commission to determine suspended Delavan officer's future
DELAVAN A town of Delavan police officer hit bottom this summer when he made a scene at a Walworth County strip club, his attorney said.
Since then, Jeremiah Burdick has been doing what is necessary to be a productive officer, attorney Scott Schroeder said.
Burdick was the first witness to testify Monday morning in an evidentiary hearing in front of the town of Delavan Police and Fire Commission. The commission must decide whether to uphold a statement of charges filed in October by Police Chief Phil Smith.
Smith recommends firing Burdick, according to the charges. Burdick is suspended.
Commission members could decide Burdick's future with the town during a meeting Wednesday, Dec. 19.
According to the charging document, Burdick was intoxicated Aug. 12 when he drove to the Vegas Gentleman's Club on Highway 14 in the town of Darien.
He displayed his Town of Delavan Police Department identification at the door and asked for free admission, according to the charging document.
Burdick's behavior was offensive to dancers and patrons. He used the N-word and drank out of another patron's glass. He left the building with an open beer bottle, ignoring the bouncer who told him to put it down, according to the charging document.
When deputies arrived, they found Burdick urinating in the parking lot and open beers in Burdick's vehicle. Burdick was aggressive toward the deputies, according to the charging document.
He was ticketed for disorderly conduct and having open intoxicants in public, according to online court records. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Weeks before the Aug. 12 incident, Burdick was warned for similar inappropriate behavior in public, according to the charging document.
Burdick also was suspended for four days in 2008 for an off-duty violation at the Town of Delavan Fire Department, according to the charging document.
Burdick has been on leave since Aug. 15.
Burdick testified Monday that his behavior was caused in part by a prescription sleeping pill he had consumed hours before going to the strip club. When he took the pill, he had intended to go to the liquor store and then home to bed because he had worked the night before, he said.
He does not remember being confrontational and was surprised when deputies said they came to the Vegas Club because of him, he said.
He doesn't remember using the N-word and said it would be very outside his character to do so.
Burdick has been a full-time officer for the town since 2007, Schroeder said. He is among the leaders in the department in making arrests, he said.
Burdick is employed as a part-time officer for the city of Delavan and town of Geneva police departments, he said. He has not been working either position during the investigation, he said.