Sheriff terminates detective
McClone served 21 years in law enforcement
By Robert Cloud
When Waupaca County Sheriff Tim Wilz testified at a court hearing on Feb. 21, he said he would fire the person who informed the district attorney about changes in a report.
During the hearing, it came to light that Wilz had disciplined two detectives, Sgt. Pat McClone and Sgt. Peter Kraeger.
Attorney Kate Frigo Drury, who represented the defendant Peter Klotzbuecher, questioned Wilz.
“You’ve also had conversations indicating that you’re upset that individuals exceeded the chain of command and informed the district attorney’s office about the changes that were made in the case?” Drury asked.
“Yes,” Wilz replied.
Drury: You have told individuals that as soon as you find out who the so-called whistleblower is, that you intend to fire that person?
Wilz: Never called him a whistleblower.
Drury: You told individuals that if you find out who the individual was, you would fire that person?
Drury: And you would fire that person because they went outside the chain of command?
Wilz: No. They are spreading bad information, creating a toxic work environment.
Later, Drury asked, “And when you find out who told the district attorney, you’re going to fire that person?”
“No,” Wilz said.
“Is that inconsistent with your testimony previously?” Drury asked.
“I told Roni Isherwood in a meeting with my captains that I would,” Wilz said. “Part of it was to flush out the person.”
In May, Wilz terminated McClone.
According to Jim Palmer, executive director of the Wisconsin Professional Police Association (WPPA), McClone was placed on paid administrative leave on Jan. 10. He was terminated on May 16.
According to Palmer, the collective bargaining agreement between the association and the county calls for an arbitration hearing using the Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission. WERC is a state agency that governs relations between local government employees and the municipalities that employ them.
McClone cannot speak to the press about the incident. Palmer, however, provided the following statement:
“Detective Pat McClone is a 21-year veteran of the Waupaca County Sheriff’s Department with an outstanding record of public service to his community, and we look forward to vigorously defending him against these specious allegations. While we have no intention of trying this matter in the media, we are confident that Detective McClone will be vindicated and returned to duty after this case is heard by an impartial arbitrator.”
Detective Sgt. Cameron Durrant is challenging Wilz for election to the sheriff’s office.
Durrant was also placed on administrative leave for two months beginning in January.
He said the WPPA advised him not to comment on any ongoing disciplinary action.
“I can comment to say that I received a documented verbal warning and it was placed in my personnel file,” Durrant said.
When he introduced himself at a May 3 Waupaca Common Council meeting, Durrant said, “My goal is to fix and create a better working atmosphere within our department and also rebuild working relationships with both the district attorney’s office and the police departments.”
“I have worked with law enforcement officers for the last 25 years,” Isherwood said. “Pat McClone is among the top three officer I have worked with.”
Isherwood described McClone as “honest to a fault,” skilled and compassionate.
“I am sad that we don’t have him protecting our community any more,” Isherwood said.
Wilz told the Waupaca County Post he cannot comment on McClone’s termination because it is a personnel matter.