A Blue Earth police officer recently served three days suspension from active duty without pay as the result of an investigation into complaints filed against the officer.
After several closed sessions over the past couple of months, the Blue Earth City Council voted on Thursday, June 26, to invoke the suspension on officer Chad Bonin.
Bonin had originally been charged with four counts of police officer misconduct, but the investigation substantiated just two of the charges and the other two were dismissed.
The first violation of the police department policy had to do with officer Bonin, while off duty, riding in a car where alcohol was being consumed. The incident happened on April 18.
The second violation dealt with officer Bonin failing to report an accident, in a timely manner, involving his squad car. That incident happened on April 20.
The accident, which involved his parked vehicle being hit by a car driven by an acquaintance of his, was not reported for two days.
Two other complaints dealing with possible conduct unbecoming an officer were dismissed, says Blue Earth city attorney David Frundt.
Frundt added that officer Bonin has served his suspension and has been reinstated on the police force and is back at work.
In a letter from Police Chief Tom Fletcher to officer Bonin, dated June 26, Fletcher says the action undermined the trust the community has in the police department.
"The message which this conduct sends is that illegal behavior is acceptable as long as they are your friends," Fletcher wrote. "That message is unacceptable."
According to the letter, the exact portion of the police department policy manual which was violated states:
"Peace officers shall not, whether on or off duty, exhibit any conduct which discredits themselves or their agency or otherwise impairs their ability or that of other officers of the agency to provide law enforcement to the community."
The letter and the complaint were obtained by the Faribault County Register through a data request filing.
Two investigations into alleged misconduct by another Blue Earth police were conducted beginning this past January.
An investigation by an outside agency resulted in no criminal charges filed against officer Todd Purvis.
The second internal investigation has been concluded and resulted in the termination of officer Todd Purvis from the department. There also was a negotiation between the city and the police union which has reached an agreement.
The Register has filed a data request to obtain a copy of that settlement, but has not yet received a response to the request.