Complaint against Roberts police chief to be heard Monday
Charges of alleged misconduct against Roberts Police Chief Ricci Prein will be heard by the Village of Roberts Police Review Board on Monday, July 28, at 8:30 a.m. in the Village Hall.
Proceedings may carry over to Tuesday at 8:30 a.m.
The Police Review Board is an independent investigative body with the job of handling complaints against police officers and deciding if any disciplinary action is required.
On July 2, Roberts' Village Attorney Michael J. Brose filed an employment complaint about Chief Prein on behalf of the Village Board of Roberts. The complaint alleges five counts of misconduct against Prein.
The New Richmond News filed a public records request with the Village of Roberts to obtain documents related to the case. The documents were released July 23 after Prein was notified of the records request and given several days to respond.
Prein's attorney, Roger Palek, objected to the release of the complaint and accompanying paperwork. In a letter dated July 22, Palek said the complaint is a case of public officials bringing false charges with "Petty and improper motives." He wrote that release of the complete complaint would harm his client's reputation.
A phone call to Palek's office was not returned on Friday.
The employment complaint states that Prein allegedly violated his duty as a police officer and engaged in conduct unbecoming of a police officer.
The complaint alleges that he has acted unprofessionally toward his subordinate police officers, to members of the public, and to members of the Village Board of Roberts on several occasions.
The complaint also focuses on a Dec. 23, 2006 incident where Prein was allegedly in the L&M Bar drinking at 5 a.m., well after closing time. The report filed by a St. Croix County Sheriff's deputy claims Prein and the bar owner were "very intoxicated."
Prein claims he was in the bar helping the owner clean up and that all he had to drink after the bar officially closed was root beer. Prein also claimed the deputy's report is inaccurate.
The employment complaint further alleges that Prein on occasion discouraged his officers from enforcing after-hour violations and other violations in and around L&M Bar.
The complaint also alleges that Prein has used a village computer to view pictures of nude and semi-nude people posted on the Internet. The complaint provides several copies of Web site pictures that allegedly were viewed.
Chief Prein is on suspension with pay during the hearing proceedings, according to action taken by the Police Review Board.
The Police Review Board has appointed attorney Catherine R. Munkittrick as their hearing officer.
Local residents have been asking that the Village release details of the complaints against Prein. They've been told that the details would eventually become public.