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UPDATED: Police chief’s newsletter offends some

Jessica Cuffman • Oct 28, 2013 at 12:50 PM

UPDATE: Vermilion’s mayor has reprimanded the police chief for writing a satirical newsletter containing inappropriate content.

Mayor Eileen Bulan said a letter of reprimand will be placed in Chief Chris Hartung’s personnel file, to document his misconduct.

Bulan became aware of the newsletter, “The VPD Insider,” after copies were anonymously mailed to area newspapers.

When Hartung returned to Vermilion Monday after a week-long training engagement, he met with Bulan to discuss the four-page document.

“Although your purported newsletter was authored in jest and not intended for public distribution, the contents of the same offended certain individuals,” Bulan stated in the letter.

“You explained that it was not your intent to embarrass any officer or employee of the police department, which is an explanation I believe,” she said. “But to avoid any further incidents, refrain from authoring any other like publication.”

Hartung readily admitted to authoring the document, which he has since said was an inappropriate use of work time and equipment.

He told the Register he wrote it in about 15 minutes during a lunch break. He declined to offer any further comment this week.

In one story, the satirical newsletter suggested the police department saved money on energy costs by removing a refrigerator from an employee’s office. Another story said the police department was grappling with a crisis one day because no one could decide where to buy lunch.


When asked about “The VPD Insider,” a four-page document mailed anonymously to the Register, police Chief Chris Hartung confirmed he did author the piece.

“I wrote it in about 15 minutes on a lunch break,” he said. “Creative writing is one of my fortes.

“I remember, I was actually eating a I guess.” Quarter Pounder with Cheese,” Hartung said.

The newsletter jabs at department employees, local politicians and the department’s fundraisers for the police dog. It was likely an inappropriate use of work time and equipment, Hartung said.

“It was in my desk,” he said. “Someone decided to poke around, The single edition of the newsletter, dated July 31, 2013, was never distributed through the department, he said. Any consequences of authoring the newsletter — which makes light of hairlines, intelligence and eating habits of employees and former employees — will be up to Mayor Eileen Bulan.

“I’m sure I’ll be in her office Monday,” Hartung said.

Made aware of the document this week, Bulan said she’ll meet with Hartung Monday when he returns from a week of training.

“We’re definitely going to look it over more and go from there,” she said. “I’ll read the newsletter and then hear background on it.” “It certainly isn’t appropriate to be doing it on the city computer,” she said.

It’s unclear what consequences Hartung may face.

Download the newsletter below, harsh language included, viewer discretion is advised

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