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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?"

C Schmidt March 22, 2012 at 12:52 PM
Is anyone else outraged about the initial conduct of this officer, and his subsequent acceptance of full pay until his jury trial...knowing the law is mandatory ignition interlock on all cars he drives? An ignition interlock device shuts down the engine for a full half hour if the driver exits the car with the engine running. Every officer I have ever observed has left the engine running numerous times per day while stopping a citizen for questioning.
Dave March 22, 2012 at 05:21 PM
He should vote for the Favorite Margarita
arnie March 22, 2012 at 07:57 PM
"four to five beers, and four to five mixed drinks" Why aren't these 'reporters' checking this out? There are legal limits a bartender may serve and this was way over the limit.
C Schmidt March 22, 2012 at 08:11 PM
Yes the bartender has an obligation...but please consider the event from the initial quotes of the police chief. The chief made his first statements on this event in "protection of his boy " in my reading of the event by going to the bar to to try and hang the bar kept rather than suggest his employ own uptopersonal responsibility.
Terry March 23, 2012 at 12:52 AM
And this occurs every day in every bar. If you were to go after every bartender in every bar that served an intoxicated person, you would have no bars or bartenders. The responsibility for this lies with the cop himself. Of all people we expect to know better, its the cops. I hope this one is soon to be an ex-cop. And C Schmidt, please give it another try. I have no idea what you were trying to say in your post. If you were trying to imply that his boss is trying to cover for him, I get no sense of that, at least in this article.
C Schmidt March 23, 2012 at 01:47 AM
Terry, there were typos in my post...but I do think you did get what I was expressing because your post came in line with my thought of personal responsibility of the officer in his choices to drink over the limit and drive. Going back to the original news coverage in the Ozaukee Press- police chief of Saukville was quoted as having gone to the tavern to question the bar tender about how many drinks were served the officer. Now, who else among us gets that sort of support in defense of OWI in the press before trial?
$$andSense March 23, 2012 at 02:42 AM
So a cop gets drunk on his or her time off and gets a DWI. Happens all the time. Some get caught, many probably don’t. The Milwaukee Urinal did an article on this not too long ago. Lots of drunken Milwaukee cops, on and off duty with DWIs. Not buying any excuses for any of them. Big difference is this. The average schmuck gets caught, their name and booking photo get slapped in the paper ASAP because that’s news. When it’s a cop, well, their union gets involved, even for off duty infractions. Paid administrative leave, lots of legal fees for their employer, overtime for the other cops having to cover for the suspended person, etc. etc. The taxpayer foots the bill to the tune of thousands if not tens of thousand of dollars. Yet the rabid union haters think the badges deserve an ACT 10 pass. I do not get their rational. Illogical and dysfunctional are the only words that come to mind. Thank your beloved Gov that this crap will continue to be tolerated because he was bought by the badge unions.
Terry March 23, 2012 at 10:34 PM
I guess I have no particular problem with Saukville's chief conducting a disciplinary investigation. There may be issues and policy violations involved above and beyond the OWI that wouldn't be covered by the Sheriff's investigation, which likely only addressed the driving.
Terry March 23, 2012 at 10:41 PM
Really? You are trying to find a way for this to be Walkers fault? It amazes me at the capacity of the "compassionate left" to hate as much as they do. Walker had nothing to do with this. His bill addressed collective bargaining. It had nothing to do with civil service protections, which I believe remained intact. So it would be handled the same for a teacher, or any other public employee, as it has been for the last forty years. This has nothing to do with walkers bill, police unions, or any other factor other than a drunk cop doing something stupid and what the police chief is going to do about it.
Terry March 23, 2012 at 10:45 PM
Now where I do have some questions about covering the officer is in the secrecy that this whole process occurred in. According to this article, the officer was arrested mid-January. Why did it take three months to release to the media that a police officer was arrested? I see articles on the patch and in the press all the time of other people getting arrested. It's always much more timely. A better question for me is did the sheriff's department and Saukville police show favoritism by not releasing this information in a more timely manner.
$$andSense March 24, 2012 at 12:22 AM
It is obvious you know nothing about unions, collective bargaining and the protections it affords individuals. Yes, Walker's bill (ACT 10) addressed collective bargaining, but not all unions, like the badges. Have you ever read a public union contract? A rather naive and ignorant statement you posted. In the absence of a union, if cops that screw up and represent a liability and embarrassment to the taxpayers they work for and the duties they are sworn to uphold, they would be terminated for cause with out the long drawn out process their contract guarantees. That was one of the main reasons why ACT 10 was enacted. Are you postulating that it is okay for cops to retain these rights but not teachers and other public sector unions? Have you any idea about the costs and wasted time that goes into these disciplinary actions with a union employee? I think not. I have been there and dealt with it too many times and in the end we the taxpayer take it in the shorts. Educate yourself before posting such statements.
dave March 24, 2012 at 03:28 AM
I would like to know why the Port Police officer who was drinking with him let him drive home drunk!!! Or did he drive home drunk to!!!!
Terry March 24, 2012 at 07:09 AM
LOL... Your kinda fun. Alright, you tell me to educate myself. School is in session. In my post I did not give an opinion as to the appropriateness of this process. What I did state is that your comments that police retained these rights while other public service employees lost them is incorrect. Wisconsin Act 10 only effected the ability of unions to collectively bargain, not their civil service protections. Those are still retained by all public employees, be they cops or teachers. In fact, there is language in the act directing governmental units to create a civil service process related to discipline to replace that which would have been in the contract. (Wisconsin Act 10, section 170) This civil service process is to include "(c) Any civil service system that is established under any provision of law, and any grievance procedure that is created under this subsection, shall contain at least all of the following provisions: 1. A grievance procedure that addresses employee terminations. 2. Employee discipline. 3. Workplace safety. Furthermore "(d) If a local governmental unit creates a grievance procedure under this subsection, the procedure shall contain at least all of the following elements: 1. A written document specifying the process that a grievant and an employer must follow. 2. A hearing before an impartial hearing officer. 3. An appeal process in which the highest level of appeal is the governing body of the local governmental unit.
Terry March 24, 2012 at 07:15 AM
I just noticed my cut and paste didn't include the language requiring the application of the civil service system. "A local governmental unit, as defined in s. 66.0131 (1) (a), that does not have a civil service system on the effective date of this subsection .... [LRB inserts date], shall establish a grievance system not later than the first day of the 4th month beginning after the effective date of this subsection .... So, despite your claims to the contrary, the civil service protections for all public employees appear to remain intact. You still need to show cause to fire them, and you still need to follow the procedures of a process, progressive discipline, and appeals and review, be they teacher or cop. Now we could have a discussion about if those civil service protections should exist at all, but you comments and claims that Walker acted unfairly somehow by denying them to some public employees, and allowing them for others is just wrong.
$$andSense March 24, 2012 at 08:55 PM
Terry What the hell are you posting? ACT 10 has nothing, NOTHING to do with cop unions or discipline! They are 100% exempt. Get that through your head. Post that section of the law. Get a copy of your local PD union contract and you will find these people are Teflon coated. Their contracts make the ACT 10 provisions look like it was written by sissies. Again, I ask, have you read your local PD contract? It is public record you know. If you lke what you find, hey, knock yourself out. But I do not think you will make that effort. And if you read any mainstream media, it is as plain as your nose that Walker approved the exemption. Do the words fairness, reason and fiscal conservatism make one "left" as you elude to? Do you think a cop arresting you for DWI that has one on their record is acceptable? I
Say What? March 24, 2012 at 09:37 PM
The cop who made a mistake pulling you over for making the same... I equate this to the teacher who didn't graduate everything, high school and college, masters etc, without getting a 4.0gpa and 100%'s in everything. I mean, lets make sure we are getting the brightest people teaching, and the perfect humans policing. It seems like a quaint thought. That is why I am backing it. Lets see if we can get the likes of Albert Einsteins and Mother Theresa's doing these jobs. I think it is a noble cause.
Terry March 24, 2012 at 10:11 PM
Have you actually been reading my posts, or are you too blinded by the ranting? From my first post on this "Of all people we expect to know better, its the cops. I hope this one is soon to be an ex-cop." Of course I don't consider it acceptable, and yes I consider it a deal breaker. My problem with your post is that you clearly and Incorrectly stated that this was Walkers fault for removing these protections from public employees and leaving them for the cops. That is an incorrect statement. Act 10 left these civil service protections in place for ALL public employees. It didn't address it, and wasn't intended to. Accuracy matters.. Your post wasn't. I am merely pointing that out. Own it, its yours.
$$andSense March 24, 2012 at 10:21 PM
SW? To follow your reasoning, then why do we need to pass laws to get rid of one union because they protect the less than brightest teachers, but continue to allow unions to protect the less than brightest police? Do you see the conundrum in your reasoning? What are you “backing”? For the record, Einstein and MT had nothing to do with public education and policing.
$$andSense March 24, 2012 at 10:32 PM
Terry In all civility, get a copy of your local PD union contract and read it. It has the force of law (no pun intended) word for word w/o interference from ACT 10. ACT 10 is meaningless to them. Call your city or village administrator and ask them if you don’t believe me.
Say What? March 24, 2012 at 10:38 PM
Oh, I was using sarcasm. Sorry, and I said the likes of, not actually einstein and MT, as both are assuredly dead and unable to work at this time. What am I backing? Good Christian values from an atheist to all of you folks.
Say What? March 24, 2012 at 10:41 PM
It is true that act 10 has no affect on the police and fire. It is like they are super hero's and totally impervious to mankind's rules. I mean, look at this doofus, caught drinking and driving, losing his job and all. In the real world, he would have lost his job. Being a police officer, he is not suffering the same consequences. You see, he is losing his job. Damn, when I right it it looks the same, but when I think about it, it just seems different.
Terry March 24, 2012 at 11:32 PM
Oh, now you want to apply civility. Kinda of late in the game given what you've been posting. You still aren't reading my posts, or at least not understanding them. I've never claimed differently. In fact it is what I have been saying. "Act 10 left these civil service protections in place for ALL public employees. It didn't address it, and wasn't intended to." Now to review "Yet the rabid union haters think the badges deserve an ACT 10 pass." "Are you postulating that it is okay for cops to retain these rights but not teachers and other public sector unions?" You seem to think that the cops got a pass that the other public employees didn't. Not true. All public employees still retain civil service protections, not just cops. Act 10 is clear on this as I outlined above. "That was one of the main reasons why ACT 10 was enacted." actually again, if you read the act, sections of which I outlined above, it was not intended to address these issues, only unions and collective bargaining. You seem under the mistaken impression that it is the unions and union contracts that prevent governmental units from just firing him without process. While union contracts do include that language, it just mirrors state law that grants these protections to all civil service employees. If this were the police chief for example, the village would still have to follow the same process. He isn't in a union, but state law still grants him the same protections.
Terry March 24, 2012 at 11:37 PM
And Say What makes a really good point. He is losing his job. Most people in most professions that are arrested for a first offense drunk driving don't lose theirs. It is after all not even a crime in this state. So his penalties for this offense will be more severe than those of the average citizen. Note, I am not sympathetic, he did this to himself and he deserves what he gets.
$$andSense March 25, 2012 at 01:06 AM
Terry You don’t strike me as an individual who gives a tinkers damn about civility anyway so get off your internet high horse. 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? On the internet? Talk radio? Or in real life work? Have you read a cop union contract which I have asked twice now? Answer this yes or no truthfully. What makes you judge and jury to make statements that this cop will lose his job? Did you not read the original posting I made about Milwaukee cops keeping their jobs despite DWI convictions? More homework for you.
$$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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