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Saukville Police Officer's Future Up in the Air After OWI Arrest

Department is conducting an internal investigation while the officer awaits a jury trial — but also in the mix is a pending resignation agreement that village and police officials remain hushed about.

As Saukville police officer Jeffery Jiracek awaits a potential jury trial on a drunken driving charge, Police Chief Bill Meloy is conducting his own investigation to determine how to address a situation he said he can't remember ever before occuring in the department.

Driving off duty, Jiracek rolled his vehicle Jan. 15 in the town of Belgium. He was arrested by the Ozaukee County Sheriff's Department for first offense of operating while intoxicated. His blood-alcohol content was later found to be 0.18, more than twice the legal limit. 

"I take this stuff serious," Meloy said. "Sometimes people put themselves above the law, and that should never be the case with law enforcement. We should be setting the example."

Jiracek, who is on a paid leave of absence, pleaded not guilty Feb. 2 in connection with the incident and hired an attorney. Because of the not-guilty plea, a jury trial was automatically scheduled and a jury status hearing is set for May 23.

On the night of his arrest, Jiracek had finished his shift at 6 p.m., Meloy said. He then went to a bar in Port Washington, where the bartender later told Meloy she served him four to five beers, and four to five mixed drinks, according to the Ozaukee County Sheriff's Department report.

Jiracek reportedly left the bar at about 9 p.m. to go to a bar in Belgium, according to the report, and was found about 20 minutes later next to his rolled-over SUV on County Highway LL.

From the track marks, police could see Jiracek had been traveling north when he crossed the oncoming lane and over the west shoulder into a field, hitting a ditch where he rolled over. Police reported strong odors of intoxicants on his breath, and arrested Jiracek for operating while intoxicated.

Depending on the outcome of Meloy's investigation, and Jiracek's legal proceedings, he could be suspended or discharged from the Saukville department. However, there's also the possibility he could resign before that happens.

The Saukville Village Board approved a resignation agreement March 13, the Ozaukee Press reported, after negotiations with the police union for an officer who has been on leave since January. The village won't say which officer the agreement involves until the officer decides to sign it.

"I have not seen a signed document," Meloy said. "I've been waiting to see it, but I haven't heard from anybody."

Jiracek hung up the phone when Patch called him for comment. Several calls to his attorney were not returned.

Even if Jiracek does not resign or get discharged, he could face other obstacles in continuing his police work. For a year following the offense, any OWI first-offender with a blood alcohol content greater than 0.15 can only drive vehicles equipped with an ignition interlock device.

Meloy said this would likely not be feasible for the department to accommodate.

"I would not allow it to occur," Meloy said. "He wouldn’t be able to drive our squad cars. Can you imagine how cumbersome that would be?"

$$andSense March 25, 2012 at 01:18 AM
Terry Let's just agree to disagree and end this discussion. Either of us is going nowhere with this. OK?
Terry March 25, 2012 at 09:29 AM
"Shouting me down with repeated assertions that ACT 10 provisions apply across the board with all unions isn't working. Where do you get your info anyway?" Disagree if you will, but when it comes to discipline and termination issues it does cut across the board for all public employees. And as to where I get the info, its from the actual document itself; Wisconsin Act 10, Section 170, and state statute 66.0509 (1m). Please feel free to read both, as I have. A simple google search will provide you with both documents. "Have you read a cop union contract which I have asked twice now?" Yes, in fact I have several, from several agencies. And they allow for a grievance procedure that addresses employee discipline which includes a written process, a hearing before an impartial examiner and a appeal process. These also are the things specifically allowed to all civil servants by the act and statue I cited above. Which is what I have been saying the whole time. Feel free to look it up. "What makes you judge and jury to make statements that this cop will lose his job?" Don't need to be judge or jury. It's too small a town and people talk. He has actually already resigned. It just has not caught up to the press yet.
Terry March 25, 2012 at 09:38 AM
If you wish. That would be up to you. I personally am enjoying the discussion. As I said above, your kind of fun. In all honesty, I fully expected this to be a "agree to disagree" discussion after your second post, but I do want to make sure that no one else is getting drawn in by the incorrect assertions that have been made.
L April 04, 2012 at 01:09 PM
Well, all I know is this whole situation make me vomit. I got a DUI eleven years ago while I was attending college. It took me a while to get focussed but when I did I was a Dean's list student two years from graduating when I got stopped in Madison after a wedding. I blew .10 just, over the legal limit, and they wouldn't give me a break. This bothered me because I have lots of friends in law enforcment who brag about driving home after the bar because they can flash their badge and be all good. I however lost my financial aid and never really bounced back. When I apply for jobs that DUI still comes up. I had never even had so much as a parking ticket prior to this. What pisses me off more is that this very cop accused me of driving suspiciously in Saukville a while back for making a U-turn. I'm a person of color and have never had problems w/ police officers outside of Saukville, Port Washington or West Bend. I'd always heard rumors they were kind of backwards, but I've been stopped by police three times outside those areas in 30+ years. In two years in those areas I've been stopped four times for suspicious driving, once for allegedly flipping a cop off (I'm a little old for that now) and once because I looked like I was staggering home, despite the fact I hadn't even had a single drink. F this guy and the rest of his Piggy Squad.
C Schmidt April 05, 2012 at 11:52 AM
Dear "L". I express to you and others who may have been questioned about driving suspiciously my heartfelt understanding of the extreme frustration such acts from the police bring to the citizens. I myself was treated to both pepper spray and taser rather than compassion in the situation I was involved in some time ago in S Ville. Now, it seems the officer in question...gets my compassion...he is no longer a cop, it has been rumored , and will be starting a new life.

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