Hearing for fired deputies postponed
Deputy Chris Culvey
Culvey pays $430 fine for disorderly conduct,
remains on administrative leave
by Gary King
BURNETT COUNTY - A hearing requested by two sheriff’s deputies who were terminated for allegedly covering up two instances of alleged domestic abuse by a fellow officer has been postponed.
The three-day closed hearing was originally set to begin Tuesday, May 7, at the Burnett County Government Center but was canceled when the selected arbitrator took a different job, according to Burnett County Administrator Candace Fitzgerald. A new arbitrator has been selected and a new hearing date is pending. Fitzgerald estimated a hearing could be reset for late June.
Meanwhile, the fellow officer in question, Chris Culvey, has paid a $430.50 fine after being charged March 22 by the state Department of Justice with disorderly conduct. The charge stemmed from two 911 calls placed in February and March of 2011 by a woman he was living with at the time at a village of Webster residence.
Culvey paid the fine before having to make a court appearance
Culvey has been on administrative leave since April of 2012 while the Burnett County Sheriff’s Department conducted an investigation into his alleged misconduct and reasons why proper reporting procedures were not followed by officers responding to Culvey’s residence and dispatchers who handled the 911 calls. The sheriff’s department handed over information from their ongoing investigation to the state last November, resulting in the state’s charge.
Culvey has yet to be reinstated as an active officer, Sheriff Dean Roland confirmed this week. Roland said his department still has to finish the investigation on Culvey and has requested information from the state’s investigation, which may take some time. “This is taking too long,” he said.
Roland also noted he has been contacted by an attorney representing Culvey’s ex-girlfriend and there is talk of a civil rights suit against the county. Culvey’s ex-girlfriend has gone on record stating nothing was done by Burnett County authorities in response to her two 911 calls in early 2011. Roland learned of her complaint from Polk County Sheriff Peter Johnson in April of 2012 after the ex-girlfriend requested Polk County Human Services handle a separate complaint she filed against Culvey, apparently after losing confidence in the Burnet County system.
Roland ordered an investigation after hearing of the ex-girlfriend’s claim, which led to the discipline of eight officers, the dismissal of two dispatchers and the eventual charging of Culvey by the state. A hearing for the two fired dispatchers was held in September of last year and hearing officer Jeffrey Kohler, while concluding a cover-up did occur, ruled that the termination of one of the dispatchers was unjust. She was offered her job back but chose to resign instead.
Some of the officers responding to the Culvey residence on Feb. 9 and March 24 of 2011 claimed the incidents were verbal and not physical and therefore did not rise to the level of a domestic abuse situation.
Complaint against Culvey
The state’s complaint against Culvey noted that he “engaged in boisterous and unreasonably loud conduct under circumstances in which the conduct tended to cause or provoke a disturbance.”
Special Agent Robert Powell reviewed reports and records from Burnett County Sheriff's Department and the CAD, or Computer Aided Dispatch, system, in determining the charge against Culvey.
Culvey’s ex-girlfriend claimed he yelled at her and slammed cabinets and picked up a kids toy and whipped it. She said she told Culvey she was going to call 911 and he responded, “Go ahead, they're not going to do anything anyway.”