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Elmwood police chief suspended with pay

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ELMWOOD--Adam Meyers, Elmwood's police chief, was suspended with pay by the Elmwood Police Committee early this month.

The committee isn't stating why the suspension occurred, but Meyers has his thoughts.

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In e-mail exchanges with the Herald, Meyers believes the one-car accident he was in on Sept. 30 was a contributing factor.

At 12:34 p.m. that day, Meyers was traveling westbound on W. Winter Street in the Village of Elmwood when, according to the accident report from the Pierce County Sheriff's Department, he was trying to make a traffic stop in the rain with the emergency lights and siren on. He crossed a bridge when the rear end of the vehicle hydroplaned in heavy rain. The rear end spun clockwise and struck the north curb. After striking the curb, Meyers struck four mailboxes on a metal pole. Besides weather, tires were listed as a contributing factor in the accident.

"The police committee suspended me with pay alleging that the accident was caused by my negligence," Meyers said in the e-mail. "It's alleged that I was negligent because the patrol vehicle's tires were poor; I knew they were poor and I didn't have them replaced."

At the monthly board meeting early last week, Trustee and Police Committee Chairman Bob Rupakus was asked whether or not the accident was the reasoning behind the suspension. His response was no, that on Sept. 28, just two days prior to Meyers' accident, the committee approved the idea of forming a police commission with the stated goal of reviewing Meyers' position.

According to the Oct. 4 meeting minutes, obtained by the Herald from the village, Rupakus, fellow Board Members Pam Marson and Doug Claflin approved a motion to suspend Meyers with pay for the duration of a police commission investigation or subsequent reversal by board action. Furthermore, they approved a motion of the police commission to consider Meyers' dismissal.

It's been discussed that, during that meeting, Meyers was given one of three options--suspend immediately, don't suspend or delay suspension--regarding his status. Not true, he says.

"They weren't options given to me," he said. "When the police committee discussed among themselves about their options, I spoke up and requested them to suspend me immediately."

What the public doesn't know from that meeting is the issues the committee had with Meyers, and may never know. And, according to Meyers, he's in that group.

"I was also advised that there were additional issues of concern, but when I asked to discuss them, my request was denied," he said. "I received my annual review during the first week of September 2007 and there were no negative issues addressed to me then. Nor were there any negative issues addressed to me from the date of my review until the crash on Sept. 30. To my knowledge, I have not received any written reprimands or formal complaints during my 14 months as the chief of police."

During the board meeting, the formation of the police committee was established, made up of seven individuals: Rick Garfield, Rob Bowen, Sharon Vandenberg, Karen Leehe, Jim Maves, Sandy Hartung and Neil Boltik, with Dennis Sinz and Linda Glampe as alternates.

Village President William Stewart assured all in that meeting every step was being taken to ensure Meyers would be treated fairly and equally.

It was noted the committee is required to meet within 30 days of being appointed and the meeting or meetings are either open or closed at Meyers' request (he told the Herald he would request closed). The time and date will be posted at the Elmwood Village Hall.

Meyers' status is unknown at this point, which means anything can happen, as evident by this exchange Meyers had with Robby Jaeger, who works for the Spring Valley Police Department and is now handling cases in Elmwood, along with assistance from the Pierce County Sheriff's Department.

On Oct. 7, a day before the board meeting, Meyers received a visit from Jaeger at his house and Meyers stated Jaeger told him, "Don't make this into a Bloomer or Woodville Police Department thing." When Meyers asked him what he meant by that, Jaeger's response, according to Meyers, was, "Don't be surprised if the village offers you a deal tomorrow."

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Jason Schulte
Jason Schulte is a reporter for the New Richmond News since February 2015. Prior to that he spent eight years at the Pierce County Herald in Ellsworth. His duties with the News will include covering news out of Hammond and Roberts along with action from St. Croix County court system. He lives in Roberts with his wife and two daughters. 
(715) 243-7767 x243
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