Chief Tischer’s Statement Regarding Investigation

Today, the results of an internal investigation into claims made by Officer Nathan Poke against the City of La Crosse Police Department have been released by the Mayor’s Office.

The La Crosse Police Department fully cooperated with the investigation.  We, as an agency, always look for ways to improve transparency and hold ourselves accountable.  The La Crosse Police Department continuously strives to provide the best possible working conditions for our greatest asset; the men and women that make up our agency.

After a thorough outside investigation by Mr. Jim Lewis, he could not find evidence to support Officer Poke’s claims against department members or claims of retaliation and hostile work environment.  Mr. Lewis also looked into the accounting of the community policing funds, which is a public record, and found no inconsistencies.  At this time, Jim Lewis’ investigation is considered closed.

The La Crosse Police Department around August 17th opened an internal investigation into Officer Nathan Poke after citizen witnesses and department supervisors came forward with allegations of misconduct while he was on and off duty.  On August 31st, while being informed of his re-assignment from the NRO position, Officer Poke raised allegations against Officer Daniel Ulrich.  The La Crosse Police Department immediately opened an internal investigation into Officer Ulrich.  As with any officer, the department has an obligation to take all complaints against department members seriously and investigate them appropriately.

On Sept 18th, the police department suspended the internal investigation into Officer Poke, by order of the Mayor, after Officer Poke approached the Mayor on Sept 11th with various claims.  The Mayor brought in independent investigator Jim Lewis to look into Officer Poke’s claims.

Jim Lewis has recommended the La Crosse Police Department be allowed to continue the internal investigations into Officers Poke and Ulrich.  At the request of the La Crosse Police Department, an outside party has been retained to conduct the internal investigations for impartiality.  We hope the investigations will be handled expeditiously for the officers, the department and the public we serve.  Both officers are on administrative leave pending the investigations.

Internal investigations and personnel issues are confidential matters, and the La Crosse Police Department cannot provide additional comment on these cases.

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