Court papers: Officer took pills from PD’s drug disposal box

An officer who faces multiple drug charges was stealing medication from a prescription drug disposal box, according to a court document.

Sauk Prairie police Officer Matthew G. Alt, 38, was arrested Wednesday on four counts including misconduct in public office and unlawful possession of a prescription drug.

A criminal complaint filed Thursday in Sauk County Court said Alt was one of two officers tasked with emptying the medication drop box at the police department. The drop box is a way for citizens to safely dispose of unused or expired prescription drugs.

According to the complaint, Alt began coming in on his days off to empty the medication drop box.

Alt — in uniform — also reportedly picked up unused medication for about 12 to 18 months from Ballweg Pharmacy, Eannelli Pharmacy and Maplewood Village, which is an assisted-living residence. The procedure for disposing of prescription medication requires that people bring the medication to the police department and put it in the drop box themselves, and that officers not pick it up from facilities themselves.

A surveillance video recorded Alt taking pills from the medication drop box holding area in the police station’s evidence room on Nov. 24.

Police seized 473 pills in a search of Alt’s home in North Freedom Tuesday, according to the complaint. The pills were all some form of hydrocodone, an opiate often used as a painkiller. The Drug Enforcement Agency classifies hydrocodone as a Schedule II controlled substance because of its “high potential for abuse which may lead to severe psychological or physical dependence.”

The complaint also said Alt had been observed falling asleep during staff meetings, exhibiting “lethargic, almost mumbling” speech and sweating profusely over the past few months. He told co-workers he was just tired.

Alt is on paid administrative leave pending the internal investigation, Sauk Prairie police Chief Jerry Strunz said Wednesday. Alt was with Sauk Prairie police for 17 years.

Alt was in court Thursday afternoon. A judge for the case will be named later, since Sauk County judges recused themselves from the case. The judge set a $10,000 signature bond Thursday. Alt was being held in Juneau County Jail.