DEPUTY BRUCE BEEKER [LEELANAU COUNTY SD]: JANUARY 23, 2009
Deputy Beeker resigned from the SD in February 2009, after he had been investigated for sending a sexually explicit email to another sheriff deputy [while on duty], on January 23, 2009.
Beeker had been embroiled with a lawsuit and grievances against the Leelanau County SD and Sheriff Oltersdorf since 2006. At that time, the Sheriff had dismissed Beeker from the department, due to an inappropriate relationship that he had with a woman who was being investigated for domestic violence.
Over the course of three-years, Sheriff Oltersdorf battled the Union and then lawsuits over his right to fire a law enforcement employee for misconduct.
DEPUTY BRUCE BEEKER, MARCH 18, 2006 MISCONDUCT:
Leelanau County hires new deputies
BY ART BUKOWSKI
The Record Eagle
Thu Mar 26, 2009, 06:56 AM EDT
SUTTONS BAY -- The scenery won't much change for new Leelanau County Sheriff's Deputy Chris Bailey.
Bailey worked for the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians' police department for about 10 years, and attained the rank of captain. He and new Leelanau Deputy Matt Green began work last weekend, and both said they're excited to join the department.
"I just wanted to be a part of a great group of people," Bailey, 30, said.
Green, 39, worked at Home Depot before finally deciding to chase his lifelong goal of becoming a police officer. He graduated from Northwestern Michigan College's police academy in 2006, and his new job marks his first try at full-time police work.
"My wife said, 'You always wanted to be a cop, why don't you pursue it?'" Green said.
Bailey and Green replace Chris Roberts and Bruce Beeker. Beeker recently resigned from the department amid allegations he sent a sexual e-mail to a fellow employee, and Roberts was fired after Grand Traverse County authorities arrested him for drunken driving last month.
Beeker's e-mail, sent while on duty Jan. 23, contained a video of naked women washing a car, according to an internal investigation obtained by the Record-Eagle under the Michigan Freedom of Information Act. The employee who received it reported it to administrators, who launched an investigation.
Beeker resigned Feb. 20, the same day a disciplinary hearing was scheduled. He had been on desk duty after a lengthy labor dispute stemming from inappropriate contact he had with a female assault suspect in early 2006.
Roberts caused a crash while driving drunk on U.S. 31 near Meijer Feb. 3, and Sheriff Mike Oltersdorf fired him Feb. 25. He eventually pleaded guilty to a single misdemeanor count of operating while intoxicated on March 3 and was sentenced to six months probation.
Oltersdorf is happy with his two new hires, which will bring his road patrol unit back to full staffing levels.
"They're both very high-caliber, good family men with roots in the community," he said. "They're outstanding officers
'Offensive' email led to resignation
The Leelanau News
An “obscene, sexually offensive” email sent to a co-worker appears to be at the heart of why Leelanau County Deputy Sheriff Bruce Beeker abruptly resigned last month.
Beeker resigned on Feb. 20 just hours before Sheriff Michael Oltersdorf had scheduled a disciplinary hearing over allegations that Beeker forwarded the email to another deputy while both deputies were on duty.
Circumstances behind Beeker’s resignation came to light this week after the Leelanau Enterprise received documents it had requested on Feb. 24 from the Sheriff’s Office under the state Freedom of Information Act. Citing state law, undersheriff Scott Wooters requested a 10-day extension of time to release the documents, ostensibly to seek a legal opinion about which documents could be released.
The name of the deputy to whom Beeker allegedly forwarded the email was blacked-out in a five-page investigation report the Enterprise received in response to its request. The report notes that the other deputy reported the incident to the undersheriff shortly after it occurred in January 2009. The deputy told Wooters that he was “very offended” by what was contained in Beeker’s email.
According to the investigation report, Beeker brought his personal laptop computer in to work on Jan. 23 and used it to forward the email from his personal address to the other deputy’s personal address, which the other deputy could access from a computer at work. Both deputies were able to access their personal email accounts using the free wireless Internet service available to any member of the public on the county Government Center campus.
The report indicates that Beeker was confronted by the other deputy over the email; and Beeker expressed surprise that the other deputy had not waited until going home to open the email.
The email included images of naked women washing cars involved in sexually explicit conduct, according to the investigation report.
Wooters interviewed Beeker during his investigation. According to the investigation report: “Beeker said it is common for him to receive emails which he described as ‘funny’ from people and mail them back and forth.”
The incident leading to Beeker’s planned disciplinary hearing last month is not the first time he had been accused of severe misconduct, including sexual harassment. In April 2006, the sheriff fired Beeker for having an inappropriate relationship with a suspect in a domestic violence case. But Beeker filed a union grievance that resulted in an arbitrator’s ruling that he be returned to his $42,000 per year job with back pay.
In August 2007, the sheriff put Beeker back to work in a “desk job” but denied him a badge, a gun, or any law enforcement duties. Another union grievance led to a 13th Circuit Court case in which Judge Philip E. Rodgers Jr. threw out the union’s assertion that the arbitrator’s ruling had not been carried out according to law.
At the time, Rodgers opined that the arbitrator’s opinion “belittled domestic violence and sexual harassment in the workplace.” The judge added that the arbitrator “not only missed the point, but he also demonstrated that he is just as base as Beeker.”
Beeker did not respond to an email request for comment from the Enterprise.
Deputy resigns over 'severe misconduct'
FROM STAFF REPORTS
February 27, 2009
SUTTONS BAY -- Leelanau County sheriff's Deputy Bruce Beeker quit.
Beeker unexpectedly resigned Feb. 20, Sheriff Mike Oltersdorf said, a few hours before a scheduled disciplinary hearing. Oltersdorf wouldn't provide specifics, but said the hearing involved alleged "severe misconduct" on Beeker's part.
Oltersdorf fired Beeker in April 2006 after he repeatedly made inappropriate contacts with a woman who assaulted her ex-boyfriend. Beeker, who responded to the assault, asked the woman to go four-wheeling with him and later called her dozens of times and visited her at home.
An arbitrator eventually ordered the department to re-hire Beeker, but Oltersdorf didn't give him patrol duties after the re-hire. He was given a desk job and remained there until his resignation.
Last year, Beeker and the police union unsuccessfully sued the department in an attempt to force Oltersdorf to give Beeker patrol work.
Michigan Officer Involved Domestic Violence