Butler police chief Cosgrove retires
Village of Butler - Police Chief Michael Cosgrove, a 33-year veteran of the Butler Police Department who has served the past seven years as chief, retired effective Sunday.
Village Administrator Jessie Thyes said he received Cosgrove's retirement notice on Thursday and informed village trustees by email the following day.
Cosgrove could not be reached for comment.
The department now has six fulltime officers with an annual budget of about $820,000.
Lt. Dave Wentlandt will assume command of the department but will not be serving as interim chief, according to village officials.
Thyes and Village Attorney Paul Alexy acknowledged that Cosgrove's retirement came in the midst of a review by village officials and the Waukesha County Sheriff's office into administrative policy, and management style issues within Cosgrove's department.
The chief had been placed on administrative leave with pay subject to the outcome of the inquiry being conducted by the Sheriff's office, according to Alexy.
Alexy said the chief was placed on administrative leave in order to insure the objectivity of the inquiry into various internal departmental issues.
Alexy and Thyes declined to be more specific regarding the internal management issues because, according to Alexy, the Sheriff's Department investigation "is still ongoing."
Thyes and Alexy emphasized that the Sheriff's Department investigation is not related to any allegations of official misconduct or a criminal complaint against Cosgrove.
"Chief Cosgrove was eligible to retire after providing more than 33 years of dedicated service to the village," said Thyes.
Thyes said he was "somewhat surprised" by the chief's resignation.
Thyes said he was aware during his discussions with Cosgrove about the department's administrative issues that the chief, at age 55, and with more than 30 years of service, was eligible for retirement as a law enforcement officer in the state's municipal retirement system.
Alexy said the sheriff office's "investigation" is more of an administrative review of the operations of the village police department.
"If you are a small village and you have questions regarding the administration and operational structure of your police department and you want an objective outside reviewer, the county sheriff's office is a logical choice," said Alexy
Jennifer Wallschlaeger, a spokeswoman for the sheriff's department, said the investigation would continue despite Cosgrove's retirement.
Wallschlaeger and Village President Richard Ensslin confirmed the Sheriff's Department was conducting an investigation but declined to describe the nature of the investigation.
Several trustees on the seven-member Village Board told The Sun last week that they were aware of the investigation but Ensslin and Thyes had declined to give any details.
Alexy explained that the Village Board would be responsible for reviewing any complaints that might have been filed against Cosgrove as a result of the investigation.
The objectivity of the Village Board in reviewing complaints against Cosgrove might be challenged if the board had been provided information about the nature of the complaint before all of the evidence was gathered and presented to the board, according to Alexy.
Although Thyes was aware the chief has resigned, he did not mention the resignation to The Sun during several interviews last week. Thyes later explained he did not want to tell the newspaper about the retirement announcement before he informed the Village Board.
He said he had intended to inform the board during a special emergency meeting that was scheduled for Monday afternoon, March 11.
The meeting however was cancelled by Alexy after Lake Country Publications questioned whether the notice for the meeting was in compliance with the state's open meetings law.
After cancelling the meeting Friday afternoon, Thyes notified the village trustees of Cosgrove's retirement via email.
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