Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Deputy Joni Josten - Victim of OIDV - Allegan SD



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


1978: John Josten received a year probation for an assault and battery in Portage Michigan.
http://michiganoidv.blogspot.com/1978/01/chief-john-josten-bloomingdale-pd.html

1993: John Josten hired by the Bloomindale PD and named as police chief later that year.
http://michiganoidv.blogspot.com/2009/05/chief-john-josten-bloomingdale-pd.html

2004: Chief John Josten was charged with assaulting a man in Barry County Yankee Springs. Josten was placed on prosecutorial probation and case was later dismissed.
http://michiganoidv.blogspot.com/2004/01/chief-john-josten-bloomingdale-pd.html

May 2009: Chief Josten was arrested for a domestic violence assault against his wife, an Allegan County Sheriff deputy.
http://michiganoidv.blogspot.com/2009/05/chief-john-josten-bloomingdale-pd.html

May 2009: Chief Josten pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor assault and battery charge, which will be dismissed within a year.
http://michiganoidv.blogspot.com/2009/05/chief-john-josten-bloomingdale-pd.html

May 2009: Chief Josten was supsended from the Bloomingdale PD.
http://michiganoidv.blogspot.com/2009/05/chief-john-josten-bloomingdale-pd.html

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.
http://michiganoidv.blogspot.com/2009/05/chief-john-josten-bloomingdale-pd.html

September 17, 2009: Chief Josten was fired from the Bloomingdale PD.
http://michiganoidv.blogspot.com/2009/05/chief-john-josten-bloomingdale-pd.html

June 2010: Chief Josten's domestic violence assault case would become nonpublic [under MCL 769.4a]
http://michiganoidv.blogspot.com/2009/05/chief-john-josten-bloomingdale-pd.html







Bloomingdale Police Chief John Josten [mug shot for domestic violence arrest]. Chief Josten had a previous conviction for assault in 1978 AND 2004.





Bloomingdale voters retain village council
By Rod Smith
Kalamazoo Gazette
February 23, 2010, 9:58PM

BLOOMINGDALE — With half the voters turning out, the five members of the Bloomingdale Village Council targeted for recall survived by better than 2-to-1.



Vote totals were generally over 100 to retain and about 50 to remove during Tuesday’s election.



President Tom Rock’s numbers were 118 to retain and 45 to remove, President pro tem Tom Barczak 49-115, council member Shirley Noble 52-111; Council member Toni Rankin 40-123 and council member William Rawlings 54-109.



The Kalamazoo Gazette was able to contact only Barczak after the election results were in. He had no comment.



Former council member Steve Spiece ran a successful petition drive against the five after they voted to fire Police Chief John Josten.



The language alleges they had voted against the majority of village opinion, with some trustees having additional allegations against them.



The petitions allege personal bias on the part of Rock, Rankin and Rawlings on the firing and say each should have abstained from voting.



Rock, the petition alleged, was biased “due to his personal bias resulting from his arrest and conviction for assault by Chief Josten.”



Rankin’s personal bias, it alleged, was from the arrest of her grandson by Josten. Rawlings, it alleged, had been arrested by the police chief for domestic violence.



Further, it said, he had been in default on sewer payments for more than 12 months, making him ineligible to serve on the council. However, on Oct. 20 Barczak announced at a meeting, not identifying anyone, that no council member was in arrears now.



Rock, according to South Haven District Court records, had been arrested in Bloomingdale on Sept. 23, 2008, on misdemeanor assault charges as well as disturbing the peace. The assault charge was dropped. Rock pleaded no contest to disturbing the peace.



Council members have been largely silent publicly about the charges, not even formally filing written defenses that would go on the election ballot, as is allowed by election laws.



More recently, Rock said the charges contained untruths and the council has performed in a responsible manner.



Former Police Chief Josten was hired in 1993 and named chief later that year. Last year Josten pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor domestic violence charge in Allegan County. The assault and battery charge can be dropped if he complies with court requirements for a year.



On Sept. 15, the council voted 5-1 for termination. He sued after that, alleging breach of contract.



In a settlement agreement, the village agreed to allow him to submit a letter of resignation dated May 22, 2009. It also agreed to pay $19,000, of which $10,000 was covered by insurance.



Since Josten was suspended and later terminated, the village has been without a police force.



The village council is investigating whether to hire another cop or go some other route.












Village council faces recall vote
WWMT NEWS
February 23, 2010 6:15 PM

VAN BUREN COUNTY, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) – Tuesday is election day in West Michigan, and voters in a Van Buren County village have a big decision to make.



In Bloomingdale, they're voting on a proposal to recall five village council members.



Those leading the recall say trustees left the village without police protection when they voted to fire the police chief.



In September 2009, after he pleaded guilty to domestic assault, the council voted to fire John Josten. Josten was not only the police chief, but the village's only police officer.



That firing set off a huge debate in Bloomingdale, some questioned if three of the council members were even qualified to vote on the firing.



The battle in the village has been making headlines, and now five members of the village council could well be fired Tuesday night by the voters. It's a major recall election and it seems that one of the fundamental disagreements is whether people are safe in the village.



Bloomingdale has been so divided in its politics that somebody slashed the tires of three of the current board members late in 2009 as the recall movement was going on.



Barbara Fox says it's a good old-fashioned power struggle between two groups, the one group elected, and the other the group who wants to get rid of the elected. Fox says the recall is ludicrous.



“I'm impressed with the job they've done,” said Fox.



One of the main issues in Bloomingdale is that the police chief's office is vacant, the one and only cop in the village is gone and hasn't been replaced. Officer John Josten was fired after he entered a guilty plea to a domestic violence charge.



“I think we're just fine,” said Fox. “I see police officers going through here all the time.”



Others in town are behind the recall, and want to put leaders in who will support a local officers. Some are hoping that Tuesday sees a complete overhaul, a total recall of village leaders.



Bloomingdale has about 300 registered voters, and seventy percent of those voters are expected to turnout and vote. In an election like Tuesday night's a couple of votes could make a huge difference.











Voters head to the polls
WWMT NEWS
February 23, 2010 8:06 AM

MICHIGAN (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - Voters head to the polls in several West Michigan counties Tuesday to decide on a number of important issues.



People in Bloomingdale will decide whether to recall five village trustees over the firing of Bloomingdale Police Chief John Josten.



In Holton voters will choose whether to pay for a road-funding millage request.



Fruitport and Belding School Districts have bond proposals on the ballot.



The Kelloggsville School District is asking for an operating millage renewal.



Look for the results of those elections as soon as the votes are counted online on wwmt.com.











As recall vote nears, Bloomingdale president defends actions:
Village board targeted after firing police chief
By Rod Smith
Kalamazoo Gazette
February 19, 2010, 8:25AM

BLOOMINGDALE — The president of the village of Bloomingdale says that the charges against five of the council members contain untruths and is critical of the way the media reported them.



President Tom Rock was speaking for himself, President pro tem Tom Barczak and trustees Shirley Noble, William Rawlings and Toni Rankin on the allegations contained in recall petitions calling for their ousters.



Village residents will decide Tuesday whether Rock and the other council members should be recalled.



“There is a lot of untruths to the statements and the allegations,” Rock said, “that the news media has failed to respond to.”



“The five of us being recalled would make the statement that we have performed in a responsible manner,” Rock said.



“We have addressed health, safety and welfare of the village residents. We would not rescind any decisions that we have made and we are proud of what we have done for the village of Bloomingdale.”



He made the statement following Tuesday’s village council meeting.



Former council member Steve Spiece ran a successful petition drive against the five after they voted to fire Police Chief John Josten.



The language alleges they had voted against the majority of village opinion, with some trustees having additional allegations against them.



The petitions allege personal bias on the part of Rock, Rankin and Rawlings on the firing and say each should have abstained from voting.



Rock, the petition alleged, was biased “due to his personal bias resulting from his arrest and conviction for assault by Chief Josten.”



According to records in South Haven District Court, Rock was charged in September 2008 with assault and disturbing the peace. He later pleaded no contest to disturbing the peace and the assault charge was dropped.



Rankin’s personal bias, it alleged, was from the arrest of her grandson by Josten. Rawlings, it alleged, had been arrested by the police chief for domestic violence. Further, it said, he had been in default on sewer payments for more than 12 months, making him ineligible to serve on the council.



However, on Oct. 20 Barczak announced at a meeting, not identifying anyone, that no council member was still in arrears.



The subjects of recall elections are given space on ballots to respond to the allegations against them. None of the Bloomingdale council members did so.



Josten was hired in 1993 and named chief later that year. Last year, Josten pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor domestic violence charge in Allegan County.



An assault and battery charge can be dropped if he complies with court requirements for a year. On Sept. 15, the council voted 5-1 terminate Josten. Josten filed a lawsuit alleging breach of contract.



In a settlement agreement, the village agreed to allow him to submit a letter of resignation dated May 22, 2009. It also agreed to pay $19,000, of which $10,000 was covered by insurance. Council member Herbert Van Horn, who did not vote to fire Josten, was not the subject of a recall petition.



The seventh council member, Judy Little, was not on the council when the decision to fire Josten was made. Since Josten was suspended and later terminated, the village has been without a police force.



The village council is investigating whether to hire another cop or go some other route.









Fired police chief gets $19,000 in settlement
Lawyer thinks Josten will get his job back
Posted: Friday, December 18, 2009 12:00 am
Updated: 8:28 pm, Tue Nov 15, 2011.
By ROD SMITH - H-P Correspondent
The Herald-Palladium

BLOOMINGDALE - Bloomingdale's former police chief will receive $19,000 under terms of a settlement approved this week by the Bloomingdale Village Council.

The council agreed to pay former Chief John Josten that amount in response to Josten's breach of contract lawsuit filed after the council fired him in September.

Mike Bogren, a lawyer for the Michigan Municipal League, the village's insurance company, said the terms include allowing Josten to submit a letter of resignation dated May 22, 2009, which was the last day he actually worked. When people request information about his work record, the village will only give the dates he worked, his position and rate of pay.

"Really the village's hands were tied by the language of the contract," Bogren said.

The council fired Josten on Sept. 15 following a period of suspension after he was arrested for misdemeanor domestic violence in Allegan County. He later pleaded guilty, and if he complies with court requirements for a year, the assault and battery charge can be dropped.

Bogren said Josten's contract required a written statement of charges, which he did not receive when he was suspended. If the village didn't accept the settlement and instead went to court, Bogren said, "he's probably going to end up with more than $19,000."

"It's the best of the worst," Village Vice President Tom Barczak said of the situation.

Josten was not present at Tuesday's meeting, but his lawyer, Douglas Merrow of Kalamazoo, said the $19,000 was what was called for under the contract. Had the case gone to trial, Merrow said, "I was pretty confident that we were going to win the case."

Merrow said he thinks it's likely Josten will be back on the job after February. "Every person that I have spoken to since I've been handling this case has told me what a fantastic job he has done," Merrow said.

Merrow was referring to the February recall election against the five council members who voted to fire Josten. They are Barczak, President Tom Rock and Trustees Toni Rankin, William Rawlings and Shirley Noble.

Josten had worked for the village since 1993 after having worked for the Bangor Police Department for two years and the Allegan County Sheriff's Department Mounted Division. He was named chief the first year he worked for Bloomingdale.

Josten is also a registered nurse.

The $19,000 breaks down into $9,000 from the village and $10,000 from the insurance company.








Bloomingdale to pay former chief $19K
In return, John Josten has to agree to resign
WOODTV 8 NEWS
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 ex-police Chief John Josten settles lawsuit with village
By Rod Smith Special to the Kalamazoo Gaz...
December 16, 2009, 11:10PM

BLOOMINGDALE — The village of Bloomingdale has approved a settlement of a lawsuit brought by the former police chief.



The council on Tuesday agreed to pay former Chief John Josten $19,000 if he agrees to drop his lawsuit.



The village is paying $9,000, the insurance company $10,000.



“It will allow Mr. Josten to submit a letter of resignation effective May 22, 2009, which was his last day of work,” said Mike Bogren, an attorney for the Michigan Municipal League, which insures the village.



Bogren said the dispute was over contract language that called for Josten being given a written notice, but instead he was suspended without a written notice.



Josten’s lawyer, Douglas Merrow, said the settlement is the amount called for in the contract.



Merrow said the settlement “is a fair resolution of what his rights were under the contract that he had signed.”



Josten had been arrested and pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor domestic violence in Allegan County. The assault and battery charge can be dropped if he complies with court requirements for a year.



Josten’s firing has brought much criticism against the village council. Five of the seven council members are the subjects of a recall election on Feb. 23.



Targeted are Village President Tom Rock, President Pro Tem Thomas Barczak and Trustees Toni Rankin, Shirley Noble and William Rawlings.



Trustee Herbert Van Horn voted against firing Josten and Trustee Judy Little was not on the council at that time. Neither is being targeted for recall.



Referring to the recall election, Merrow said he was “fairly confident” that Josten would be back on the job after February.



“People just think the world of him,” Merrow said.












Bloomingdale's ex-police chief sues village
By Kalamazoo Gazette staff
October 09, 2009, 10:17PM

BLOOMINGDALE — Bloomingdale’s former police chief has sued the village, claiming the village council lacked cause to fire him and breached his contract.



John Josten was fired last month following his arrest earlier this year on a domestic-violence charge.



A lawsuit filed Monday in Van Buren County Circuit Court alleges Josten was denied due process by the village and seeks that he be reinstated or be awarded least 90 days each of his salary and severance pay, as well as accrued sick pay.



Josten’s suit alleges the village has failed to comply with a request for records under the Freedom of Information Act and seeks costs, attorney fees and punitive damages against the village. It also claims Josten was fired in part for “having made arrests in the past of certain relatives of village council members,” according to a news release by his attorney that accompanied a copy of the lawsuit.



Josten, of Otsego, and his Kalamazoo attorney, Douglas A. Merrow, will not comment further on the suit, the release said.



The Kalamazoo Gazette was unable to reach Mark Manning, the village’s attorney, for comment.



In May, Josten pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor assault and battery charge, which will be dismissed within a year if he complies with court-ordered requirements, stemming from a domestic-assault incident in Allegan County.



The village council voted May 26 to suspend him with pay, then in July began termination proceedings. It voted Sept. 15 to fire Josten.



Some village residents have sought to persuade the council to reinstate Josten and have circulated petition to recall council members. Village President Tom Rock said in September that he believed there will be a recall election in February.



Josten, the village's only police officer, was hired in 1993 and named chief later that year. With his departure, Bloomingdale has relied on police coverage from the Van Buren Sheriff's Office and Michigan State Police.










Three face recall for initiating attempt to fire police chief
John Josten fired Tuesday in a 5-1 vote by the village council
Posted: Friday, September 18, 2009 12:00 am
Updated: 8:30 pm, Tue Nov 15, 2011.
By ANDREW LERSTEN - H-P South Haven Bureau
Correspondent Rod Smith

The Herald-Palladium

BLOOMINGDALE - Three Bloomingdale Village Council members are being targeted for recall for starting the termination process against Police Chief John Josten.

The Van Buren County Election Commission recently approved recall petition wording against President Tom Rock and Trustees Toni Rankin and William Rawlings submitted by former councilman Steven Spiece, county Clerk Tina Leary said.

While the wording varies by petition, the common allegation is that Rock, Rankin and Rawlings should be recalled because they voted to initiate termination proceedings against the police chief, and that action was contrary to the wishes of the majority of the village residents.

"A good chunk of the village believes it's in the best interests of the village (to recall the officials)," Spiece said Tuesday. "I know (Josten) has been a positive influence in the village. He has been for many years."

The Village Council voted Tuesday to fire Josten, who has been police chief since 1993.

President Pro Tem Tom Barczak made the motion to terminate.

"I think this will give us an opportunity to move forward and get the police protection the people want," he said.

In his motion to remove Josten, Barczak cited the recent tire slashings of the vehicles of Rock, Rawlings and Nick Rankin, husband of council member Toni Rankin.

The vote to fire Jostens was 5-1, with council member Herbert Van Horn dissenting

Spiece said more than 130 residents and business owners submitted a petition in July urging the council to reinstate the chief, who had been suspended.

Spiece had also sought to recall two other council members, Barczak and Shirley Noble, but the county elections committee did not approve the petition language on the grounds it was not clear to voters, Leary said.

Rock said the council voted to begin the process to remove Josten this summer following his arrest and guilty plea to a misdemeanor domestic violence charge in Allegan County. If he complies with court requirements for a year, the assault and battery charge will be dropped.

During Tuesday's meeting, council members appointed 19-year resident Judy Little to the council. Little has 24 years of experience in business management.

Little succeeds Nancy Miller, who recently resigned. Little will fill Miller's position until 2010 at which time there will be an election for the two years remaining of Miller's term.













Bloomingdale fires police chief
WWMT NEWS
September 17, 2009 5:07 PM

VAN BUREN COUNTY, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) – Months of heated debate have come to a head with the firing of Bloomingdale's police chief.



The village council voted to dismiss Chief John Josten.



The firing comes after Josten pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor domestic violence charge in Allegan County in May. That, however, wasn't their only reason.



The debate over Josten's dismissal has been personal.



Three council members, all under threat of recall campaigns connected to the debate over Josten, had their tires slashed in September.



They believe the damage to their vehicles and the debate over Josten are connected.



Josten had been on suspension since May 26th. He was not only the police chief, he was the only cop in the village. In the interim, Michigan State Police and Van Buren County Deputies have taken up the slack.














Bloomingdale fires chief of police
John Josten out on 5-1 vote
WOOD TV-8 NEWS
Updated: Thursday, 17 Sep 2009, 1:24 PM EDT
Published : Thursday, 17 Sep 2009, 1:19 PM EDT

BLOOMINGDALE, Mich. (WOOD) - By a 5-1 vote, John Josten was fired as chief of the Bloomingdale police.



The vote comes after he was suspended for a domestic assault, and amid allegations the village council was targeting him because he arrested some of them.



The vote came after negotiations between attorneys representing the village and the chief.



Among the five voting to remove Josten were t hree who had their tires slashed last week -- the same three who are the target of an ongoing recall effort.















Council fires Bloomingdale police chief
Kalamazoo Gazette
Thursday, September 17, 2009
BY ROD SMITH

BLOOMINGDALE -- The Bloomingdale Village Council has fired Police Chief John Josten, ending months of community debate.



Josten's firing follows his arrest on a misdemeanor domestic-violence charge in Allegan County.



In May, he pleaded guilty to the assault charge, which will be dismissed within a year if he complies with court-ordered requirements.



In making the motion to terminate Josten's employment at Tuesday's council meeting, President Pro Tem Tom Barczak cited actions against council members, including the slashing of tires on some council members' vehicles.



President Tom Rock said the tire slashings occurred Monday.



``I myself had my tires on my truck slashed,'' Rock said. ``Bill Rawlings had his, and Nick Rankin had his.''



Three council members -- Rock, Rawlings and Toni Rankin -- also have been targeted in recall campaigns in connection with Josten's firing.



``The reason that I'm making a motion is that we need to terminate a situation that is dragging on and is getting to be personal,'' Barczak said.



With no discussion, the council voted 5-1 to fire Josten. Trustee Herbert Van Horn cast the dissenting vote.



The council voted May 26 to suspend Josten, the village's only police officer, with pay. During his suspension, the village has relied on officers from the Van Buren County Sheriff's Office and the Michigan State Police.



In July, former Village President Bill Miller presented a petition to the Village Council that sought Josten's reinstatement. The petition contained the names of 130 village residents.



Josten, who attended Tuesday's meeting, declined to comment on his dismissal, saying he'd been advised by his attorney to not comment.



Josten was hired in 1993 and named chief later that year. He had worked for the Bangor Police Department for two years and formerly served with the Allegan County Sheriff's Department Mounted Division.












 Slashed tires believed to have been politically motivated
WWMT NEWS
September 15, 2009 5:39 PM

VAN BUREN COUNTY, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) – Deputies in Van Buren County want to track down the people who went on a tire-slashing spree.



Three cars had tires slashed around the Village of Bloomingdale on Sunday morning.



One of the victims of the tire slashing say the incidents weren't random. All three victims are village officials in Bloomingdale, and all three are in danger of getting recalled.



"It's just an unfortunate situation all around," said William Rawlings.



Rawlings came outside to go to work on Monday to find an unpleasant discovery.



"I just thought I had a flat, then I got out and both these tires were slashed," said Rawlings.



And Rawlings wasn't alone in seeing his vehicle struck, two tires on Toni Rankin's truck were also slashed. Rankin, like Rawlings, is a village trustee in Bloomingdale. Village president Tom Rock was also made a target.



All three officials face recalls, the county approved petition language at the start of September, and citizens now have about six months to gather 35 signatures for each of them. Then the voters will decide, likely in February of 2010, whether the three will remain in office.



"So I'm sure that has a little bit to do with why we got our tires cut," said Rawlings.



The three all supported the suspension of Village Police Chief John Josten without pay. Josten pleaded guilty to assaulting his wife in April.



William Rawlings has served the village for almost four years, and now he's worried about what village politics will lead to.



"Maybe they were trying to send a message, but my concern is what is going to be next?" asked Rawlings. "Is this going to escalate?"



Anyway with informations about the slashed tires is asked to call the Van Buren County Sheriff's Department at 269-657-3101.














Vandals target Bloomingdale officials
3 officials supported suspension of John Josten
WOOD TV-8 NEWS
Updated: Monday, 14 Sep 2009, 9:03 PM EDT
Published : Monday, 14 Sep 2009, 9:03 PM EDT

BLOOMINGDALE, Mich. (WOOD) - The village president of Bloomingdale and two other councilmembers had their car tires slashed early Monday morning.



The slashings are considered malicious destructions of property, according to the Van Buren County Sheriff's Department.



The victims are village president Tom Rock and councilmembers Bill Rawlings and Toni Rankin.



The incident is "awful strange," Rock told 24 Hour News 8. "The three people from the council being recalled all had their tires slashed. It wasn't ... random. They singled out our three vehicles."



Rock, Rawlings and Rankin all supported the suspension of Bloomingdale police chief John Josten, after he pleaded guilty to assaulting his wife -- Allegan County Deputy Jodi Josten -- in April 2009.



Josten has a history of assaults, and is suspended without pay. He may lose his job after pleading guilty.



Many Bloomingdale residents support Josten and last week circulated a petition to have Rock, Rawlings and Rankin recalled.



"Hopefully, it does not escalate from this, but if (the suspects think) they are going to intimidate any one of the three (of us) by puncturing our tires, they're just in the wrong position," Rock said. "In fact, it proves our point.



"We had some tough decisions to make. We didn't force (Josten) to plead guilty to the assault."



The sheriff's department says "all three cases appear to be related" and asks anyone with information to contact officials. The department can be reached at (269) 657-3101 and Silent Observer's number is (269) 343-2100.

















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
WOOD TV 8 NEWS
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."









[WOOD TV 8 NEWS]










Bloomingdale police chief arrested

Charged with midemeanor domestic assault
WOOD TV 8
Updated: Friday, 22 May 2009, 6:18 PM EDT
Published : Friday, 22 May 2009, 11:56 AM EDT
http://www.woodtv.com/dpp/news/local/sw_mich/Bloomingdale_police_chief_arrested

BLOOMINGDALE, Mich. (WOOD) - A Van Buren County police chief was arrested Friday morning on a misdemeanor assault charge.

The Allegan County Sheriff's Department took Bloomingdale Police Chief John Josten into custody.

Josten made an appearance in Allegan District Court on a misemeanor domestic violence charge involving his wife, an Allegan County Sheriff's deputy.

Josten allegedly threw a glass during an argument that hit his wife in the shoulder nearly a month ago.

Bloomingdale is a village of 500-600 people. One resident talked to 24 Hour News 8 and gave the chief credit for shutting down a crack house in the village and gaining the respect of the community.

"In this particular village he's done well," said Michael Cosby. "Because the crime rate's low and he's caught four or five people who have done breakins so he does his job."

The problem for the village is that Josten may not be able to continue as police chief because the judge today told him he had to stay away from firearms. He can't carry a weapon.

That could quickly end his law enforcement career no matter the outcome of the domestic violence allegation.

The village president today had just heard about the charge and had no comment but said Josten's future as chief is up to the village council.

If found guilty Josten could serve a maximum of 93 days in jail.

A look at Josten's criminal background reveals an assault conviction in 1978.

Chief John Josten, Bloomingdale PD [MI]. [WOOD TV 8 NEWS]








Police chief suspended in Bloomingdale after being charged with assault
Posted by Rex Hall Jr. Kalamazoo Gazette
May 28, 2009 01:00AM
http://www.mlive.com/news/kalamazoo/index.ssf/2009/05/police_chief_suspended_in_bloo.html

BLOOMINGDALE -- Bloomingdale's police chief has been suspended from his duties pending the outcome of an assault charge against him.

John Josten, 53, of Otsego, is scheduled to be arraigned Friday in Allegan County on a misdemeanor charge of assault and battery against a family member, authorities said.

The Bloomingdale Village Council during a special meeting Tuesday suspended Josten, with pay, from his duties as police chief through June 19, council President Tom Rock said.

"We're all awaiting the outcome," Rock, reached Wednesday, said of the charge against Josten. "We have no more information than you do on the situation."

Josten turned himself in at the Allegan County Sheriff's Office last Friday after the prosecutor's office authorized a warrant based on an investigation by the Michigan State Police, Lt. Dave Greydanus said.

Police began investigating Josten on May 15 after troopers received a report alleging he had been involved in an assault on a family member, Greydanus said. He declined to give the exact relationship between Josten and the family member.

Josten was hired as a Bloomingdale police officer in 1993 and promoted to chief that same year. He is Bloomingdale's only police officer, but Rock said the village will not seek additional police support during the time the chief is suspended.

"We have total coverage as any other village does in the county," the council president said, referring to coverage from the Van Buren County Sheriff's Office and Michigan State Police.

Bloomingdale, in Van Buren County, is about 15 miles north of Paw Paw.

An Allegan County District Court official said Josten is scheduled to appear at 10 a.m. Friday for arraignment on the assault charge.

Kalamazoo Gazette Staff Writer Lynn Turner contributed to this report. She can be reached at (269) 388-8564 or
lturner@kalamazoogazette.com.
Bloomingdale Police Department [WOOD TV 8 NEWS]









Police Chief enters guilty plea




Bloomingdale, Michigan [WOOD TV 8 NEWS]







Bloomingdale Police Department [MI]. [WOOD TV 8 NEWS]













Chief John Josten Pleaded Guilty
June 12, 2009 4:30 PM
http://www.wwmt.com/articles/mich-1363525-allegan-newschannel.html

ALLEGAN COUNTY, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) – John Josten, Chief of Police in Bloomingdale, pleaded guilty Friday at his pretrial hearing in Allegan District Court.

Josten pleaded guilty to misdemeanor domestic assault, and has received a deferred sentencing. This means that Josten must complete a probationary period where he attends counseling, does not contact his wife, and doesn't consume drugs or alcohol.

If Josten successfully completes the probationary period, the misdemeanor will be erased from his record.

It is not clear, however, when John Josten, 53, of Otsego, may return to his job as police chief and sole officer for the village of about 500 people.

Members of the Bloomingdale Village Council were to have met for a regular meeting Tuesday night. However, council President Tom Rock said it was unlikely that court documents about the proceedings would be available then for them to discuss the case.

``We do not know (what happened in court),'' Rock said. ``We have no documentation, no clarification ... no knowledge of anything.

``It's something that's going to be an issue until we the council and the police committee get together and go over it.''

The council voted May 26 to suspend Josten, with pay, until June 19.

Josten pleaded under a law that allows a person who assaults a domestic partner to plead guilty to the charge but have sentencing deferred for up to a year.

As part of his plea on Friday, Josten, like any defendant in a similar case, was ordered by Allegan County District Judge William Baillargeon to attend counseling, get a substance-abuse assessment and have no contact with the victim, District Court Administrator Linda Lenahan said.

The court was working to amend his bond conditions so that he could carry a firearm in the course of his work, she said.

If he is successful during his probation, Josten's charge would be dismissed no later than June 14, 2010, and the case would become nonpublic, Lenahan said.




















Bloomingdale police chief pleads guilty to domestic violence
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Kalamazoo Gazette
BY LYNN TURNER
http://www.mlive.com/news/kzgazette/index.ssf?/base/news-34/124525024525610.xml&coll=7

BLOOMINGDALE -- Bloomingdale's police chief remains on suspension with pay after pleading guilty to a domestic-violence charge in Allegan County that can be dismissed within a year if he complies with court-ordered sanctions.
Michigan Officer Involved Domestic Violence

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