Jefferson Davis is a longtime resident of Menomonee Falls. He is the proud parent of two wonderful boys. He enjoys singing, volunteering, reading, gardening, politics, antiques, history, guitar, violin, piano, officiating, helping neighbors and yard work. He served as Village President of Menomonee Falls from 2003-05. He is a member of Northbrook Church and serves on the Advisory Council for the Salvation Army Rehabilitation Center. He is an independent registered representative practicing in the areas of insurance, investments and retirement.
False Arrest with Menomonee Falls Police
A friend and reader of The Vanguard recently shared an experience that they were intimately aware of involving the Menomonee Falls Police Department. For obvious reasons that will become very evident, the party asked for anonymity until the matter is resolved on a professional level.
Menomonee Falls has a very good reputation for its Police Department. Sure, there is the occasional mix-up or questionable way of handling things, but by in large the Police Department does a very good job. The overwhelming majority of the department's rank and file are hard working and dedicated professionals.
Enjoying a Leisurely Ride When....
Imagine that you are out for a leisurely ride enjoying yourself on a beautiful day with your significant other when you are pulled over for a routine traffic stop by a neighboring county sheriff's deputy.
The deputy is very nice and professional as it is explained to you why you are being stopped. The deputy asks for your license and informs you that he will be back in a few minutes.
Everything checks out, but upon his return, he regretfully informs you that there is a warrant out for your arrest from the Menomonee Falls Police Department much to your shock, dismay and utter disbelief because of an unpaid minor ticket.
"Sir, I'm going to have to arrest you"
You explain to the deputy that you were never notified of any arrest warrant from the Menomonee Falls Police Department and the minor ticket that he is referring to was already paid for quite some time ago.
The deputy contacts the Menomonee Falls Police Department and is informed by them that the ticket has not been paid for and the individual needs to be brought in under the warrant for their arrest.
The deputy is polite, understanding and apologizes, but is required by law to arrest you and take you to the Menomonee Falls Police Department.
You are humiliated by having to go through the arresting routine of being frisked, hands above your head, spreading your legs, handcuffed and stuffed into the back seat of the squad to be hauled off to jail for something that you did not do and have not been legally notified of in any way.
You inform the party you are with to contact their family to come and pick them up as they will have to take care of your mode of transportation that is left on the side of the road and to post bond for your release from jail in Menomonee Falls.
"Book 'em Danno"
Similar to the old TV show, "Hawaii Five-O", you are hauled off to jail where you are finger printed, photographed, asked a boat load of questions and given the old "rubber glove" treatment for intake purposes as you are booked.
You speak with a number of officers throughout the process who appear to be polite and professional. You explain to them that you never received the warrant for your arrest and the ticket they are referring to was paid a long time ago.
It is explained to you by the Police Department that according to their records that a warrant for your arrest was issued and that the ticket was never paid.
One officer was very kind and understanding and told you, "Working around here is like being in high school. The politics are awful. It's like a bunch of kids for some of these people. I love what I do, but I don't know how much longer I can work here with this."
Please Release Me, Let Me Go
While sitting in jail being good natured about the silliness of the whole matter, you can only think of the Engelbert Humperdink song, "Please Release Me, Let me Go", as you prepare to be released.
Your friend contacts their family and posts the bond for your release with the Police Department that same day.
Once again you politely inform the Police Department of their errors of which they insist you are the guilty party and that you will have to pay the ticket because their records do not have any record of the ticket being paid.
Your friends take you to get your vehicle to go home for the evening.
"...Upon further review, the ticket has been paid"
Like an NFL Referee who is asked to review a questionable play that a coach feels he is absolutely certain about, you arrive home to look at your canceled checks and find your check where the ticket was paid.
The canceled check is presented to the Police Department as proof that the ticket had indeed been paid a long time ago.
Ultimately, the bond posting was refunded and a letter of explanation was sent out admitting the error.
Waste of Taxpayer's Time, Money and Resources
The obvious question with this whole matter is, "How could something like this happen with the technologically advanced world that we live in?"
The Menomonee Falls Police Department has asked the taxpayers to provide them with very costly state of the art equipment to perform duties in order to process things quickly and efficiently to keep the community safe. This comes with a very high price tag.
Imagine all of the wasted law enforcement resources and taxpayer's money because of an obvious error on the part of someone(s).
The Menomonee Falls Police Department is on their 4Th Police Chief since 2003 with retirements, an interim chief and now a new chief.
The Vanguard is not usually an advocate of litigation because it is so tedious and costly when matters could and should be resolved in a more efficient way by simply having those who made the mistake(s) take responsibility.
But this case certainly warrants a very close look at the system to see how something of this magnitude could have fallen through the cracks to put an innocent person and their family and friends through such a horrific and totally unnecessary experience.
A person can only wonder if something like this happened, how many other situations similar to this may be occurring as well.
Hopefully not too many.
Minimally, the Police Department needs to help this individual get this expunged from their record and a formal written letter of apology is due.
Law enforcement is a tough and demanding profession, but simple clerical and data entry functions are minimal requirements for job duties.
It is hoped that in the future mistakes of this nature can be totally avoided so that ours and the resources of others can be used more wisely and for necessary law enforcement matters.
Let us know what you think about this situation by emailing The Vanguard at email@example.com.
Should there be an internal investigation of this matter by the Police and Fire Commission?
Should those responsible for these mistakes be disciplined?
Should the Village of Menomonee Falls offer to pay the individual who was put through this experience for their incredible inconvenience without going to court?
Next Week..."The Village's Health Care Plan...A really good deal gone bad, reeeeeeally bad!"