Investigation may not be over
By John Faucher
Hortonville Police Chief Michael Sullivan is back on the job after more than four months of being placed on administrative leave.
Sullivan was placed on leave after allegations were made that he made inappropriate comments, used a statewide police database for personal use, mishandled employee rights, and discussed his investigation after being told not to.
In February the Hortonville Police Commission concluded their investigation and found Sullivan culpable on some elements of the charges against him, but not all of them.
The commission then placed him on two weeks suspension, and held an additional six weeks suspension in abeyance for two years.
The commission considered Sullivan’s admirable record of service in its decision and that It felt confident that he could lead the department.
Sullivan said he was satisfied with their decision and was happy to retain his job.
On Tuesday, March 7, Village Administrator Dianne Wessel told the Press Star that “Sullivan is in service.”
He returned to his office at the Hortonville Police Department on Monday, March 6.
However, the action in Sullivan’s case may not be over yet. The executive director of the Wisconsin Professional Police Association, James Palmer, requested U.S. Attorney Gregory Haanstad of the Wisconsin Department of Justice’s Eastern District to conduct a formal investigation.
Palmer wrote it is necessary to determine to what extent Sullivan violated the Driver’s Privacy Protection Act of 1994 by accessing the statewide criminal justice system, Transaction Information for Management of Enforcement System, repeatedly over 15 years to look up information for his personal business.
“Law enforcement’s ability to keep our communities safe relies in no small measure upon its maintenance of the public’s trust,” Palmer wrote in a March 2 letter. “When the head of a police agency gratuitously undermines that trust, the implications can be both long-lasting and far-reaching for both law enforcement officers and the communities they serve.”
Wessel said the village received a copy of the letter Palmer sent to the US Attorney, but the village had not received any further notification or information.