Monday, November 23, 2009

Officer Mike Bogdonas Charged with Conduct Unbecoming an Officer

Town of Beloit Police Chief John Wilson has filed charges against one of his officers and requests the officer be suspended for up to 90 days.

A recently appointed disciplinary committee will hold a hearing and could act on the matter Tuesday.

Wilson on Sept. 22 filed a document listing five charges against officer Mike Bogdonas. The charges were a result of a complaint filed by a resident after Bogdonas responded to a July 12 domestic incident.

The charges accuse Bogdonas of behaving in a manner unbecoming an officer, being disloyal to the police department and lying, according to a copy of the complaint obtained by the Gazette.

According to the complaint:

-- During the July 12 incident, Bogdonas told a family member involved in the July 12 incident that if Bogdonas wasn’t “a cop, I’d probably go over and punch” his own mother-in-law in the head.

-- Bogdonas talked extensively about his personal life during the response.

-- Bogdonas told an accused batterer he would have done the same thing.

-- During the incident, Bogdonas talked about internal matters at the police department. He mentioned recent disputes and investigations in the department and spoke negatively about Wilson and Town Administrator Bob Museus.

-- During an internal investigation of the matter, Bogdonas denied the accusations against him. He made false and misrepresentative statements.

His actions at the July 12 incident and his responses during the investigation violate the police department’s code of conduct, according to the charging document.

The disciplinary hearing will look a lot like a court hearing, town attorney Bill Henderson said. The three committee members will hear testimony from both sides, he said.

Then the committee will go into closed session to make a decision, Henderson said. The committee’s decision is final and will not need to go to the town board for approval, he said.

The committee could take up to three days to make a decision, Henderson said.

The committee members are Robert Harris, Karl Salzberg and Dee Nyre.

Because the town does not have a police committee, state statutes allow it to appoint a disciplinary committee or hearing officer when necessary, Henderson said.

Recently, Bogdonas was one of three department members investigated by the Rock County Sheriff’s Office.

A resident had accused Bogdonas of calling him in January and sharing information about a criminal investigation.

In May, Rock County District Attorney David O’Leary closed the case against Bogdonas and declined to file charges.

A second investigation turned up the fact that Wilson had told a waitress about the sheriff’s investigation. She told Sgt. Willie Abegglen, who told Bogdonas.

Abegglen was suspended for three days without pay. Wilson received a letter of reprimand.