Termination hearings for the second police officer in as many years will begin next month when the Fire and Police Commission begins reviewing evidence in police Chief Jim Ryan’s case against Lt. Steve Johnsen.
Johnsen made a brief appearance before the commission on Sept. 13 to request the start of his termination hearings be delayed 45 days so he can hire an attorney. Johnsen said it was an “unexpected turn of events” to be brought before the commission, and he is unable to fund his defense.
Commissioners granted Johnsen an extension, though it was not the 45 days he requested. The first hearing is scheduled for Oct. 5.
“It’s not what you asked for, but the board feels this is enough for now,” commission attorney Charles Hervas said.
Johnsen is facing six charges stemming from an arrest he oversaw in July 2005. During that incident, Johnsen was supervising the arrest of local business owner Jim Shaw when he allegedly failed to ensure that the arresting officer properly investigated the matter. According to the charges filed by Ryan, Johnsen failed to guarantee that all potential witnesses were interviewed and later violated department policy by providing an incomplete brief to the chief.
During an interrogation on Dec. 9, 2005, Johnsen allegedly lied to the department about how he handled the matter, according to Ryan’s charges.
A third-party investigation conducted in February recommended Johnsen be suspended or fired from the department. He was placed on three months paid administrative leave and allowed to return to work in May. Since then, Johnsen has been assigned to administrative duty and has no supervisory authority, Ryan said.
Shaw, the man arrested in the incident has since filed lawsuits against Johnsen, the arresting officer Mike Harrison, the village and Commissioner Patrick Doolin. A confrontation between Shaw and Doolin following a village council meeting prompted Shaw’s arrest.