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Officer put on leave

By Staff | Nov 30, 2014

A?Wells police officer was suspended without pay after being found to have been in violation of the city’s sexual harassment policy and the Wells Police Department Code of Conduct.

Officer Steve Seipp, who has been a full-time officer for the Wells PD since December 2013 and worked as a part-time officer since 2009, has recently been part of an investigation for alleged misconduct.

The investigation found Seipp to be in violation of the policy and code of conduct and the council took action on how to handle the matter at their meeting last Monday.

The council went into closed session for about 15 minutes and when they opened the meeting back up to the public, city attorney David Frundt gave a report about the closed session.

“The council heard different options and will make a decision on discipline,” said Frundt.

Council member Anne Marie Schuster made a motion to suspend the officer without pay for two weeks and the council voted unanimously in favor.

The investigation began in September and Seipp has been on paid administrative leave during the investigation process.

A complaint was filed against Seipp and stated an incident occurred on Aug. 16 when the complainant was reporting for work during Kernel Days.

The complaint states that Seipp touched another officer’s hair and made lewd comments and gestures which made the complainant feel uncomfortable.

The investigation included recorded interviews of three other officers who were also present when the comments and gestures were made.

The report says, “two of the three witnesses reported seeing officer Seipp making hand gestures” to the complainant. The third witness said he had focused his attention on the complainant after the lewd comment had been made toward the complainant and did not see whether or not he made the gestures.

Seipp was also interviewed during the investigation and the report states, “Seipp admitted he ‘tapped’ [the complainant] on the head.” He however denied to making any gestures or comments mentioned by the other witnesses.

Since the witnesses were interviewed separately and their stories lined up with the complaint, it was sustained that officer Seipp did indeed violate the City of Wells policy relating to sexual harassment on Aug. 16.

In addition to being suspended, Seipp will be required to attend and complete sexual harassment training.