Records: Ex-Butler police chief accused of watching porn at work had no reviews for 20 years

  • Updated: June 14, 2013 - 11:25 AM

MILWAUKEE — A former Wisconsin police chief accused of watching pornography with his officers didn't receive a performance review for more than 20 of his 33 years with the department, records show.

Michael Cosgrove retired in March after serving as chief of the Village of Butler Police Department since 2005.

A Waukesha County Sheriff's Department report released earlier this month found Cosgrove and some of his staff regularly watched pornography at work and used racial slurs and other derogatory language. One officer spoke of starting his day with "porn in the morn," the report said.

As chief, Cosgrove reported to the village president and village administrator. The report came after Village Administrator Jesse Thyes asked the sheriff's department in February to look into police management.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported (http://bit.ly/120ch4H ) Friday that Cosgrove was supposed to have reviews after three, six, 12 and 18 months as chief. Annual reviews were to follow that, but no reviews were done.

Village President Richard Ensslin declined to comment.

Thyes said he did not review Cosgrove during his two years as administrator.

"I went through the personnel folder I have in the administrator's office (for Cosgrove) and there was nothing in there regarding past reviews," he said. "I do not know if (Cosgrove) would have had anything in his office, as there was lack of filing in his office and we are still discovering paperwork to be perfectly frank."

Thyes said the village is talking to the acting chief, David Wentlandt, about taking the job permanently. Wentlandt, a lieutenant, has 18 years with the department. Thys said the sheriff's department did not find that Wentlandt had participated in any bad behavior.

Wentlandt previously told investigators he didn't see officers viewing pornography or hear them use racial slurs, but he did receive threatening letters from Cosgrove questioning his allegiance.

"I guess I can't speak to exactly what they were thinking, maybe they didn't feel comfortable around me," Wentlandt said Thursday. "I feel that mistakes were made, obviously. However, the officers realize that behavior won't be tolerated moving forward."

The sheriff's department report found five police officers, including Cosgrove, had acted inappropriately. The department typically has six full-time officers and the chief.

One officer has been placed on paid administrative leave and faces criminal charges.

The report found that while Cosgrove violated department rules, he had not committed a crime.

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