Officer keeps his job despite alleged break-in

“We were looking at $100,000 in attorney fees and a high probability that he would have gotten his job back with back pay”
Courtney Astolfi
May 21, 2014
An embattled Vermilion police officer kept his job, even after commanders suspended him for allegedly entering an unauthorized area and then being dishonest about it during an ensuing investigation.
 
Vermilion officials initially pursued firing Patrolman Dale Reising but dropped their grievance a week ago, most likely because his bosses didn’t want to fight an uphill battle.    

Officials didn’t release their conclusion to the media until Tuesday, despite the Register asking for an update earlier this month.

“We were looking at $100,000 in attorney fees and a high probability that he would have gotten his job back with back pay,” Vermilion police Chief Chris Hartung said.

In exchange, however, Reising must:

•Sign a last-chance agreement, a document permitting him one more shot to shape up or get shipped out.

•Agree police commanders or city officials can fire him for any other similar misconduct he commits.

•Accept an unpaid suspension lasting 160 hours, losing out on about $3,700.

•Attend at his cost several training courses revolving around ethics.

•Acknowledge his conduct “was inconsistent with the standards of a sworn officer” at no less than one official Vermilion police meeting.

Past incidents involving law enforcers nationwide getting terminated but later coming back to work after lengthy, costly court battles in similar situations to Reising’s case made Vermilion officials reluctant to fire him.

“We spent a lot of time researching this case, and I believe that this was an internal issue and the best recourse for this case,” Vermilion Mayor Eileen Bulan said.

Reising, suspended since early April, should return sometime in June. During this ongoing period, Reising stands to obtain about $4,200 while on paid leave, according to city financial data.

Reising has worked as a full-time officer in Vermilion for about four years.

Alleged misconduct
An internal investigation, obtained by the Register through a public records request, sheds light into two alleged acts of misconduct Reising committed:

•Entering a police administrator’s locked office.

•Showing signs of dishonesty when interviewed about his actions.

On Feb. 10, Vermilion police Capt. Mike Reinheimer noticed ceiling tile debris on a cabinet in his office. The investigation indicates a supervisor assigned Reising to a cruiser with the keys locked in Reinheimer’s office over the Feb. 8-9 weekend.

Reising originally told Reinheimer he never entered Reinheimer’s office during initial questioning.

But the patroller did claim he went to Ace Hardware, where employees later helped Reinheimer pinpoint the sale of a key to the morning of Feb. 9 — right in the middle of Reising’s shift and just a day before Reinheimer realized someone entered his office, according to the report.

A hardware store employee said Reising had entered the store in full uniform on that day, according to the report.

Reinheimer then interviewed Reising a second time, pointing out the apparent inconsistencies between his previous statements and what Reinheimer learned during the investigation.

Reising again stuck to his story: He made a copy of the key while he was off duty and never broke into the office.

When Reinheimer confronted Reising again about the inaccuracies, Reising asked for his union representative, but he then admitted to the theft, according to the report.

Commanders determined Reising had violated two department rules regarding the incident: He allegedly gained unauthorized entry to a restricted area, and he allegedly provided false information during a disciplinary investigation.

While entering unauthorized areas usually warrants a written reprimand, showing signs of dishonesty generally calls for dismissal, police documents stated.

Reinheimer ended his report with this: “My recommendation for this infraction would be dismissal from his position as a patrolman for the Vermilion Police Department”

Comments

SoldOnAcorns

Tool

Babo

Sounds like Vermillion has a law director who isn't doing his job. A termination should not cost $100K in legal fees unless maybe the law director is steering the work to his firm or that of a friend.

freespeech1

Fire his butt anyway.

Babo

Better yet have him indicted for burglary (breaking into locked public office) and felony falsification (lying during official investigation into a felony)

Stop It

How will this so-called cop have any respect from the public? That is the main question. A cop breaking the law makes them all look bad. One would think his co-workers would run him off for tarnishing their name.

The work place can be a harsh mistress when everyone you work with shuns and despises you wearing that uniform.

freespeech1

And this same jerk will be arresting people for doing what he did and got away with it!!

MiddleRight

Big thanks to the Police union for again protecting "One of their finest". This is were unions lose any support. They protect the stupidest person in the union like their best employees. If they would cut some of these losers lose, they would have more respect.

Bottom Line

Hit the nail on the head.

thinkagain

Brady cop.

Stop It

The bad press this guy is gathering should at least make him seek employment elsewhere. He's worn out his welcome in these parts.

Einfach genug III

He was assigned a cruiser whose keys were locked in this office? Seriously, I look at it as being one to take initiative. Was the supervisor reprimanded for assigning a cruiser, keys were not readily available? Was Reichstag fueher reinheimer reprimanded for having the keys to a cruiser unavailable for use of the vehicle? I wonder, is everyone just butt hurt, that their areas are not as secure as they thought, and I would guess they leave confidential information out or in unsecured drawers for nosey folks to dig through.

ladydye_5

So breaking into a commanding officers office is better than just calling? Yep that sounds like a great idea. Then just lie about it. Even better. Just how does one secure the ceiling in an office building? How will anyone take this officer seriously. What else does he or will he lie about? Does he break into other buildings/offices to get things he wants? If this was any other citizen that broke into a public officials office there would be charges pending. This officer is the perfect example of why so many look at law enforcement with distrust. Not all officers are bad apple such as this.

Einfach genug III

Who says a call wasn't made (maybe by the Supervisor?)?

ladydye_5

The supervisor called the supervisor? You make no sense. My comment meant....he thought it was a better option to break into the supervisors office than to just call him.

KURTje

Way to go Dale. Know that you are not respected around Vermillion. They really talked about you @ Quaker State.

Darwin's choice

"Paul Blart"

wrangler74

They should have charged him. If they would have charged him there would be no attorney fees that the city would have to pay. The charges would go through the superior court where prosecutors try the case and HE would have to pay a defense attorney to represent him. I am sure he makes too much to qualify for a public defender. Then when found guilty or accepting a plea deal, they can terminate his employment and not worry about the city attorney being involved and the fees to follow. From one police officer to another, Mr. Reising you should do the right thing and resign your position. There are plenty of officers in the area seeking full-time employment versus part-time and reserve status who are more honest and take this job serious. The mere fact that you lied during an investigation is a violation of your oath of office. Your credibility on the stand in any case you make will be called into question. No way to avoid that.

sorryhog

A real creditable cop!