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Hearing set for complaint against Hammond police chief

After much debate and discussion, some of it heated, the Hammond Police Review Board approved by a 4-1 vote during its meeting Thursday, March 19, to set a hearing of 5 p.m., Tuesday, March 31, to hear the complaint brought by resident Tony Endres against Police Chief Rick Coltrain.

Endres is alleging Coltrain falsified his time cards Oct. 4-17, 2014, with one of the examples of him making a phone call while he was in Siren when the time cards showed he was on duty.

How the Review Board reached its finding during its hour-long meeting left a lot of people frustrated.

Review Board member Del Werner questioned why the board wasn’t made aware of this complaint sooner before the meeting date.

Board Chairperson Erin McComb said she was following the advice given to her by attorney Catherine Munkittrick. Part of the matter, she said, was trying to determine whether this was a Human Resource violation, which would go toward the Village Board.

Munkittrick, who was in attendance, said the proper procedures and state statutes had to be filed, which include notifying the defendant, Coltrain, first.

Review Board members asked Munkittrick the difference between the two complaints Endres has filed against Coltrain. She said the first one, which revolved around open record requests, in her opinion, the requirements had been met, and therefore, she dismissed it.

This complaint, she believes, warrants more information.

Some people, in attendance, thought otherwise.

Trustee Rob Ward called the process “a witch hunt.” Coltrain’s attorney Andrew Nelson, questioned the legality of the entire process. Trustee Wally Graf asked for McComb to remove herself as chair because of her previous contact with Endres (McComb declined to do so).

Munkittrick advised the board relating to the hearing, it’s going to be similar to a trial, in which both sides will present their case, and the board will be the decision maker.

“The facts presented to the board during the hearing will be the determining factor,” she said.

Scott Rock was the only Review Board member to vote no, while McComb, Matt Kamm, Werner and Tom Kinney voted yes.

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. 

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