MADISON, Wis. - The former village of Oregon police chief is being investigated by the Wisconsin Department of Justice over allegations that may rise to the level of misconduct in public office, according to a statement.
A report released Thursday by the village of Oregon Board indicates Douglas Pettit, who left the department in May for health reasons, used village resources while working off-duty at businesses that served alcohol and were subject to liquor-license requirements of the village.
The board report also indicates other officers joined Pettit working security.
"The board believes this behavior is reprehensible, inconsistent with village of Oregon rules and general expectations of professional conduct of law enforcement officers, and cannot occur for the sake of effective law enforcement services to our community.
"Chief Pettit and the officers used village resources, including uniforms, squad cars, and equipment for this off-duty employment," the five-page report said. "Chief Pettit and village employees used village resources to communicate regarding off-duty employment opportunities, scheduling, preparing billing invoices, and to develop safety and security plans for entities outside of the village of Oregon."
The report alleges that Pettit directed his administrative assistant and command staff to perform work in "furtherance of this off-duty work."
One of the locations where Pettit and other officers allegedly worked was the now-closed Union Sports Club.
The report said that Pettit did not report to the Village Board significant law enforcement activities at the bar, including drug, alcohol and physical violence incidents.
The bar was denied a liquor license earlier this summer after board members discovered a list of violations that had not come to light earlier.
"Chief Pettit failed to properly and fully inform the board of incidents occurring at the Union Sports Club that were material to alcohol licensing decisions," the report said. "Chief Pettit took measures to keep information about law enforcement involvement at the Union Sports Club from becoming public by requesting the removal of information from logs reviewed by the media on a periodic basis."
Caesar Gonzalez, a former bartender at the Union Sports Club, said Pettit is a good man who was making an honest living providing security for the club as a second job.
Gonzalez said Pettit became involved with the business when it started seeing larger crowds and bigger events.
A message was left with Pettit's wife at his home. A spokesperson for the Department of Justice declined to comment.
"We trusted the chief of police to do things right. He betrayed us," said Village President Steve Staton said. "I feel betrayed. Beyond frustrated, but it's even deeper than that. I have a lot of anger about it. You trust people to do the right thing. Chief Pettit didn't."
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