HR Strange But True!
September 10, 2004

John Johnson, chief of police in Muskego, Wisconsin, suspected that his two detectives were taking care of personal business on department time. But proving it proved difficult. First, he put a tail on them, with police supervisors conducting the surveillance. Two weeks into the operation, however, Johnson called it off, fearing the supervisors were about to be discovered. Detectives, after all, are experts on following people around.

Then Johnson enlisted satellite technology, courtesy of the Milwaukee Police Department. The city police owned a global positioning system and normally used it to track drug dealers and gangsters. But they agreed to let Johnson secretly place their GPS tracker in the squad car shared by the two detectives.

Sure enough, police supervisors who tracked the duo's movements with the GPS system learned they were driving to a tanning salon, shopping at a Geoffrey Beene Outlet Store, and running personal errands while on duty, according to a local newspaper, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

A GPS device works by triangulating the location of the tracker (the thing placed in the detectives' car) with at least three satellites in space. As a result, the supervisors knew the exact location of the squad car at any given time.

The Journal Sentinel obtained the Muskego department's report of the investigation, which resulted in the resignation of one detective, the demotion of the other, and the reassignment of the supervisor in charge of the detective bureau.

Detective Thomas Schilling, accused of six department violations, told the Journal Sentinel that he resigned because he didn't want to work for the department anymore. "There was no progressive discipline," or no warning about his actions, he said. Besides, he added, he wasn't doing anything that department supervisors weren't doing as well.

"I did a few things that I probably shouldn't have done, but they never made an issue of it in the past," Schilling told the newspaper. "I feel that what I was doing has been OK by the department for the last 30 years."

In case you're wondering what made Chief Johnson suspicious in the first place, it was an expense report submitted by the other detective, James Kaebisch. The department reimburses its plainclothes officers for clothing purchases of up to $225 per year, and a credit card receipt attached to Kaebisch's report showed that he'd purchased $85.41 in clothing on April 19, during his shift.

Source: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

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