Bad old boy cops not so bad, old, or male
Kudos to Dylan Brogan of Madison’s Isthmus for persevering for an entire year before getting information out of the Madison Police about an incident involving officer Stephen Heimsness and a female police officer that occurred before his fatal encounter with the unfortunate and dangerously intoxicated Paulie Heenan some three years ago.
The headline of the resulting article says it all:
Officer Stephen Heimsness hid another cop’s rifle without being punished.
A month later he killed Paul Heenan”
But the Isthmus ecrivant had an agenda common to the liberal-progressive-socialist cabal and it was to tar the entire police department as anti-woman — an especially toxic charge in the current environment — run by an old boy’s network that denied the aggrieved female officer her just compensation for disability. Except that the incident involved Heimsness only peripherally and the female officer was never disabled.
The key takeaway from the City Attorney’s office is this statement:
The focus of Mr. Brogan’s article seems to be, ‘if MPD would have started the investigation sooner, then Steven Heimsness would not have been working on the night Paul Heenan was shot’ – that is nothing but wishful thinking. Mr. Brogan makes that seem like a possibility in his article only because he intentionally ignores evidence in his possession that contradicts his “story.” That supposition, is not now, and was not then, ever a factual possibility.
Herewith is the response of the Madison City Attorney’s office to Common Council president Marsha Rummel concerning Mr. Brogan’s article of March 8.
I am responding to the email you sent [city attorney] Mike May regarding the … Isthmus article. I am the attorney most familiar with Ms. Anderson’s duty disability case. …
Let me first say the Madison Police Department does not determine whether a police officer receives duty disability. To say that MPD is responsible for Ms. Anderson not receiving duty disability is legally and factually false. The State of Wisconsin determines whether an individual receives duty disability based on a statutory process. In Ms. Anderson’s case, the reason she can no longer be a police officer has nothing to do with the incident with the rifle. In addition, the State of Wisconsin found she did not have the required medical support from her own physicians and denied her disability. … By law, duty disability is established by medical evidence – that medical evidence was lacking in her case.
Regarding the investigation into Steve Heimsness, … the incident was part of the PFC Complaint made by Noble Wray to have Steve Heimsness removed from service. [MPD] found Officer Heimsness and Officer Drollinger acted inappropriately towards Ms. Anderson. Based on that finding, MPD disciplined officer Drollinger and sought to have Officer Heimsness removed from MPD. Officer Heimsness resigned from MPD before the PFC could hear the complaint. In addition, MPD disciplined a third officer who was not directly involved. That discipline is discussed in more detail below.
MPD and I provided the discipline information to Dylan Brogan well before he ran his article. It is unfortunate he chose to leave these facts out of his article and instead wrote, “Anderson says she felt like she was the only officer being scrutinized. Records show she was right.” The records in his possession actually show the opposite. Ms. Anderson was not scrutinized. … We told Mr. Brogan Ms. Anderson never received any discipline in her time with MPD – a fact he chose to ignore.
We also told Mr. Brogan that Officer Jon Drollinger, the other officer investigated along with Steve Heimsness, received a 22-day suspension for his role in the incident. In addition, another officer, who was not directly involved in the incident, but who engaged in MDC messaging with Heimsness and did not take appropriate action when he learned of the incident, was suspended for 10 days. Again, this is information Mr. Brogan had before he wrote his article but chose to ignore in his article, thus making it appear as if MPD took no action on Ms. Anderson’s complaint.
… If you feel the investigation into Steve Heimsness should have been more timely, the reason for the delay is due in large part to two events. First, the officer who removed Ms. Anderson’s rifle from the squad car (where she left it) was Jon Drollinger – not Steve Heimsness. Drollinger came to his sergeant shortly after the incident and told her he was the one who dismantled Ms. Anderson’s rifle and left it in the armory. … In the course of investigating the incident, it became clear Steve Heimsness was also involved … MPD gave Mr. Brogan documents showing this but, again, he chose not to fully disclose the facts in his article.
The second reason for the delay was Ms. Anderson’s medical condition. Legally, we cannot require an employee who is not at work for medical reasons to come into work for an interview. … I understand Ms. Anderson feels she was forced out on leave by MPD. However, her behavior at work, in conjunction with opinions from doctors, led to her leave. [MPD] could not close out the investigation until Ms. Anderson’s doctors cleared her to return to work and they could interview her. That took several months. [MPD] did interview other witnesses who were at work and available to be interviewed in order to keep the investigation moving.
The focus of Mr. Brogan’s article seems to be, ‘if MPD would have started the investigation sooner, then Steven Heimsness would not have been working on the night Paul Heenan was shot’ – that is nothing but wishful thinking. Mr. Brogan makes that seem like a possibility in his article only because he intentionally ignores evidence in his possession that contradicts his “story.” That supposition, is not now, and was not then, ever a factual possibility. …
— Patricia Lauten, Deputy City Attorney