Pequot Lakes Police Officer Suspension Ruled Partially Warranted by State Arbitrator
Wednesday, October, 16, 2013
Last month, Jay Fogelberg, a Minnesota state arbitrator, ruled that Officer Josh Gartner, a Pequot Lakes Police Officer, should have only been suspended 10 days instead of the 15-day suspension he received in January. As a result of that decision, Gartner will receive payment for the five days ruled to be unwarranted.
The initial suspension occurred following several complaints about Gartner received by the Cass County Sheriff’s Department. The first complaint filed centered on a traffic stop in which Gartner pulled over an 18-year-old ex-girlfriend and ticketed her with underage consumption of alcohol and driving while intoxicated. During that stop, the woman was placed in the back seat of Gartner’s squad car and the video/audio within the car was paused.
After Police Chief Eric Klang conducted an internal investigation into the complaints, the department informed Gartner that he would be placed on a 15-day suspension. The arbitrator overseeing Gartner’s case determined that there was sufficient evidence to warrant suspension, since pausing the audio and video equipment in the squad car was “self-serving.”
Another complaint had been filed against Gartner concerning preferential treatment to a friend whom Gartner assisted without filing ‘call for service’ paperwork with the department. Still another complaint was filed about a status update Gartner posted on his Facebook page, which according to the arbitrator, “is not only a violation of established policies for licensed police officers, it borders on the absurd.”
After learning about the ruling, Chief Klang stated, “We take these types of incidents very seriously and this certainly is not consistent with the officers in this department. I don’t like having to explain to the community, my family and my friends why this officer is a member of this department.”