A Waukesha police officer who was contesting a 15-day suspension involving his investigation of a child abuse case is no longer appealing his discipline, according to Police Chief Russell Jack.
was scheduled to begin next week.
Gehrke was suspended after he didn’t separate a mother and the 14-year-old daughter she was accused of beating with a belt in the front yard in July 2011 before questioning them about the incident. He also didn’t carefully scrutinize the girl’s injuries or contact medical personnel to examine her injuries, according to a charging document that Jack submitted to the Police and Fire Commission.
Gehrke failed to take witness statements, file an incident report and forward the case to the Department of Health and Human Services or the police department’s sensitive crimes unit, the charges state.
After the July 2011 incident occurred, police have documented two cases of child abuse from the girl’s mother. One incident involved the woman punching her daughter multiple times in the chest. The other incident involved the woman hitting the daughter in the eye, breaking her blood vessel and causing other facial injuries. The girl was removed from the home months later as a result, the charges state.
“Sadly, subsequent events reveal why officers in this department must be vigilant and demonstrate initiative when facts demonstrating possible child abuse occur,” Jack said in the charges.
In an interview with police investigators, Gehrke said he wouldn’t have handled the call differently as he felt child abuse had not occurred. Gehrke, a nine-year veteran on the force, has been disciplined in the past.