Wednesday, February 1, 1978

02011978 - Chief John Josten - Sentenced - Assault & Battery - Bloomingdale PD

Bloomingdale Police Chief, John Josten arrested for domestic violence assault against wife, an Allegan County Deputy [May 15, 2009].

1978: John Josten sentenced to a year probation for an assault and battery in Portage Michigan.

1993: John Josten hired by the Bloomindale PD and named as police chief later that year.

2004: Chief John Josten was charged with assaulting a man in Barry County Yankee Springs. Josten was placed on prosecutorial probation and the  case was later dismissed.

May 2009: Chief Josten was arrested for a domestic violence assault against his wife, an Allegan County Sheriff deputy.

May 2009: Chief Josten pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor assault and battery charge, which will be dismissed within a year.

May 2009: Chief Josten was supsended from the Bloomingdale PD.

September 14, 2009: Council members who had supported the supension of Chief Josten, following his pleading guilty to domestic violence charges, had their car tires slashed on the same day.

September 17, 2009: Chief Josten was fired from the Bloomingdale PD.

June 2010: Chief Josten's domestic violence assault case would become nonpublic [under MCL 769.4a]

Bloomingdale to pay former chief $19K
In return, John Josten has to agree to resign
Updated: Thursday, 17 Dec 2009, 4:11 PM EST
Published : Thursday, 17 Dec 2009, 3:43 PM EST
By Ken Kolker

BLOOMINGDALE, Mich. (WOOD) - The village of Bloomingdale has agreed to pay a $19,000 settlement to its former police chief, who was suspended after a conviction for assaulting his wife.

In exchange, former chief John Josten has agreed to sign a letter of resignation dated May 22, 2009, his last day on the job.

The village will pay $9,000 and its insurance company through the Michigan Municipal League will pay the remaining $10,000, village trustee Thomas Barczak said.

"It's what we offered him in the spring before all this blew up," Barczak told 24 Hour News 8 on Thursday.

The village council approved the settlement Tuesday. It calls for the chief to drop the lawsuit he filed against the village over his suspension.

Josten alleged the council suspended him without the 30-day notice required by his contract.

His attorney, Douglas Merrow, said Josten has agreed to the settlement.

Josten, who has a history of assaults, was suspended without pay after he assaulted his wife -- Allegan County Deputy Jodi Josten -- in April.

He allegedly threw a glass during an argument that hit his wife in the shoulder.

Josten pleaded guilty, was given up to one year probation and ordered to pay $415 in fines and other costs. But the case will be dismissed if he completes court-ordered therapy.

He received a year of probation for assault and battery in 1978 in Portage, and was charged in 2004 with assaulting a man. That case was dismissed after he was placed on prosecutorial probation.

Josten's suspension divided Bloomingdale, a village of 500 people in northern Van Buren County, leading to recall petitions that were approved against three council members. The recall election is set for Feb. 23.

A successful recall could lead to Josten's re-hiring, Merrow said.

"I understand he's got very strong backing in the community," the attorney said. "His performance there has just been stellar."

Bloomingdale, a one-cop town until now
Chief suspended; he claims retaliation
Updated: Thursday, 10 Sep 2009, 6:23 PM EDT
Published : Thursday, 10 Sep 2009, 11:00 AM EDT
Ken Kolker

BLOOMINGDALE, Mich. (WOOD) - This is a tiny village with a police department normally half the size of TV's Mayberry. It was a one-cop town -- until now.

And, that has torn apart this village, leaving it without a police chief, and, without a police department.

"He can't patrol," said Village Council Member Thomas Barczak. "We're not paying him."

Chief John Josten blames the Village Council. "I do believe it's a retaliatory motive that they've had," for arrests he's made of village council members or their relatives, Josten told 24 Hour News 8.

Bloomingdale is in northern Van Buren County, southwest of Allegan. Home to slightly more than 500 people -- a farming community, an old railroad town without a railroad.

Josten, who has a history of assaults, is suspended without pay and expects to lose his job after he assaulted his wife -- Allegan County Deputy Jodi Josten -- in April.

He allegedly threw a glass during an argument that hit his wife in the shoulder. He pleaded guilty in June through a domestic diversion program, was placed on up to a year probation and was ordered to pay $415 in fines and costs.

But the case will be dismissed if he completes court-ordered therapy.

Allegan County Judge William Baillargeon amended his probation, allowing Josten to carry a gun for work.

Many in the village support him. Some have signed a petition to force the village to keep Josten, who has worked there nearly 18 years. His contract, obtained by 24 Hour News 8 through the Freedom of Information Act, shows he was paid $38,500 a year to work 40 hours a week.

Van Buren County on Wednesday approved a petition to recall the village president, Thomas Rock, and village council members Tony Rankins and William Rawlings. However, the county denied wording on a petition to recall two other members: Thomas Barczak and Shirley Noble.

Village residents pay 10 mills in property taxes for their own police protection. Right now, they're getting nothing for their money. State police and the Van Buren County Sheriff's Department is responding to complaints, village officials said.

Some question why Josten kept the job as long as he did -- with a 1978 assault conviction in Portage, and an assault arrest in Barry County five years ago. Details in the 1978 case were not available, though State Police records show he was placed on probation for a year and ordered to pay fines.

In the 2004 case in Barry County's Yankee Springs, court records show, he allegedly assaulted a man, threatened witnesses and "acted inappropriately" during the investigation. He was placed on "prosecutorial probation" and the case later was dismissed. Records don't indicate why.

He could lose his job by Friday.

Josten claims he's being targeted by a vindictive Village Council after he arrested two council members and the grandson of another in recent years.

"I arrested Tom Rock for assault and battery and disorderly conduct on a senior citizen," he said.

Van Buren County court records show Josten arrested Village President Thomas Rock for assaulting a man and for disorderly conduct in August 2008 -- months before Josten's most recent arrest.

The president's assault case was dismissed, but he pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct and was ordered to pay fines.

"I've worked for other small towns -- I've worked for Bangor; I've worked for Paw Paw, which is a larger town -- but you usually don't have council members that are getting in trouble with the law," Josten said.

Rock refused to comment about Josten's retaliation allegations, saying that the chief was "suspended and terminated for cause." He says the village has treated the chief fairly.

There are no records available in what Josten claims was the arrest of a second village council member, or the arrest of a council member's grandson. He also claims the grandson has been "following me" and calling his grandmother -- the council member -- "telling her each move I make. I've seen her husband following me all around town, watching everything I do."

Josten said he wants the job back, but not under the current council. "I love this community," he said. "I've been here a long time. I live here. My kids go to school here. But this particular group of council members -- there's been such a breakdown with the relationship between police and them. I don't believe I could effect good law enforcement here."