Richland Center police chief resigns amid sexual assault allegations

Richland Center Police Chief Lucas Clements resigned from the city police department on Monday. The Police Commission unanimously approved the move at its meeting the same night.

Clements was charged with three counts of sexual assault and one count of theft on Tuesday for an incident in June, when he was accused of groping a bartender and stealing her tips. Clements has been on paid leave with the department since late June.

#BREAKING Richland Center Police Chief Lucas Clements resigns from the department amid sexual assault allegations. The police commission approved the resignation tonight. They’re starting the search for the next chief immediately. #News3Now pic.twitter.com/B1zWetpkhS

— Amy Reid (@amyreidreports) November 4, 2019

In his first scheduled court appearance Friday, Clements lawyer entered not guilty pleas on his behalf. His next court hearing is scheduled for Dec. 13.

“As I begin the process of defending the allegations made against me, I do not wish to draw any more unnecessary negative attention to our department and our city,” Clements wrote in a letter to the commission.

Clements also thanked his colleagues for their support and service over the last 16 years he was in the police department.

Peter Walsh, the president of the police commission, said the group was nervous going into the meeting because of how this has affected the community. Now, he said, it’s time to move forward.

“T his is one person, although a very important person within the department, but the whole department is still here,” Walsh said. “They’re still protecting the community and serving the community, and I think they’re going to continue to do a great job.”

The police commission will begin searching for a replacement chief immediately, the commission said in a news release. In the interim, acting Chief Billy Jones will continue in his role.

The commission also approved changes to the qualification requirements for applicants. Instead of a bachelor’s degree, the previous education requirement, applicants must have completed at least an associate’s degree. They must also have at least 10 years experience instead of the five years previously required.

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