Heimsness to resign Nov. 23 as part of settlement
MPD chief agreed to withdraw charges
Officer Steven Heimsness has agreed to resign from the Madison Police Department Nov. 23, according to a release.
Police Chief Noble Wray has agreed to withdraw the charges against Heimsness filed with the City of Madison Police and Fire Commission on June 21, according to the release. It is also agreed that no additional charges will be filed against Heimsness unless he is still employed by MPD after Nov. 23.
Heimsness was on administrative leave until Sunday, according to the release.
Starting Monday, Heimsness’ duty status has been changed to sick leave, and he will continue in sick leave paid status until the approval of his Duty Disability Retirement application or the end of business Nov. 23, whichever comes first, according to the release.
The state police union said he has suffered from post-traumatic stress since last November. Wisconsin Professional Police Association Executive Director, Jim Palmer said mental health is the central issue for Heimsness.
"I think this is a very bittersweet conclusion to a career that he has loved," Palmer said. “But again, I think he needs to look out for his health first and foremost."
Palmer also said if Heimsness is approved for duty disability, the state would pay him 75 percent of his salary, at least until he reaches retirement age. Heimsness' base salary was $66,525 last year. He made another $15,305 in overtime and miscellaneous pay. Officials said Heimsness is utilizing accrued contractual time until Nov. 23.
"Given Chief Wray's complaint and the fact that Chief Wray wants Officer Heimsness to no longer be an employee of the department," Palmer said. “I think this is perhaps the shortest distance between two points and one that is best and most appropriate for all involved.”
Paul Heenen's former roommate, Nathan Royko Maurer, who's fought the city's version of the shooting that killed Heenen. He said the resignation is a political solution, but doesn't bring real change.
"They don't seem to be interested in justice," Royko Maurer said. " It's a pretty good deal. It's not being a police officer, but it's not being out of luck with nothing."
According to the release, Heimsness will have no statutory powers or duties of a police officer and is prohibited from representing himself as a City of Madison Police Officer, from performing or assuming the duties of a police officer, or from being on Police Department premises.
Heimsness agreed to withdraw any grievances and claims he has or may have against the City, according to the release.
According to the release, the agreement does not prevent MPD from bringing separate disciplinary charges against Heimsness for actions from the date of the agreement until his retirement.
According to another release, Wray says he looks forward to the opportunity of addressing the matter publicly in upcoming weeks.
Madison Mayor Paul Soglin said the city got what it wanted out of the settlement. He called the shooting one of the most tragic events during his time in the office, but said the goal of the complaint had been reached.
Soglin said the settlement is saving the city resources by not taking the case to fire Heimsness. It was unclear how much cost or time it would have been expected to take, but the city attorney estimated up to six months.
Soglin said he is asking the Madison Police Department to clean up a culture of officers making negative comments toward colleagues. He said a culture like that undermines trust and hurts the city.
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