WPD Officer Arrested, Fired After Fort Wayne Incident
Friday, October 23, 2009 9:01 PM
A Warsaw Police Department probationary officer was fired Friday after his arrest in Fort Wayne for allegedly assaulting his wife.
WPD Undergoes Several Changes In Personnel
In less than 12 months, the Warsaw Police Department has seen several changes in its personnel.
Six officers have been hired since 2008 including Joseph Klaehn who was fired Friday after his domestic battery arrest. The following is a timeline of some of the events that have transpired with the WPD.
Nov. 8, 2008 - Sgt. Brad Kellar is fired after violating department protocol. The nature of his violation was never made public, but he subsequently was hired by the Winona Lake Police Department.
Feb. 21 - 28-year veteran Eric Coburn is suspended and given a two-percent pay cut.
Feb. 21 - Steve Brown, the animal control officer for WPD resigns "on his own" according to WPD Chief Perry Hunter.
May 15 - The Times-Union contacts the U.S. Federal District in South Bend about an alleged grand jury investigation involving WPD officers. The office declines to comment.
June 5 - Coburn retires.
July 8 - Lts. Joe Stanley and Tony Faucett voluntarily step down from their positions to become patrolmen and accept less pay.
July 13 - The Times-Union confirms that Joe Stanley is being investigated by Indiana State Police in connection with a confiscated gun.
Sept. 2 - Stanley resigns from WPD and moves to Florida with his family.
Sept. 4 - Hunter details a list of violations by Faucett at a Board of Works meeting including that the officer neglected or disobeyed orders and failed to properly enter evidence. Faucett is suspended with pay until a Sept. 30 public hearing. Hunter recommends Faucett be terminated.
Sept. 23 - The Board of Works announces it will hold two executive sessions regarding Faucett's case. They are scheduled for Sept. 30 and Oct. 16.
Oct. 2 - It is announced Faucett will retire Jan. 10 and not be terminated as had been suggested during the Sept. 4 Board of Works meeting. Faucett is allowed to use accrued vacation and sick days until his retirement day.
Officers Brian Martin and Jaime Delafuente resigned in good standing to take jobs elsewhere.
Joseph Robert Klaehn was booked into Allen County Jail at 2:35 a.m. Friday and charged with a misdemeanor count of domestic battery.
Friday afternoon WPD Chief Perry Hunter told the Times-Union he believed the charge was a felony which would have kept Klaehn in jail for at least 72 hours.
Since he was preliminarily charged with a misdemeanor he was able to post bond Friday morning and appear for his initial hearing.
Hunter, who was in contact with Fort Wayne police, told Klaehn to meet him at the police station Friday night and instructed Klaehn to bring all WPD-issued items such as his weapon and uniform.
During the 15-minute meeting Friday night, Hunter informed Klaehn he was fired.
Hunter said the meeting went well and that it only lasted about 15 minutes.
"I told him that it wasn't for me to judge," said Hunter. "But that he was charged with domestic battery and that I had to let him go."
Hunter also said that during the meeting Klaehn maintained his innocence as he did when Fort Wayne police arrested him.
WPD started a new pay period this week so while Klaehn's termination is effective Friday he will be paid for prior shifts he worked, including some overtime hours.
According to a redacted report from the Fort Wayne Police Department, dispatch received a call from a complainant stating that a woman was at his home was assaulted.
Though the report leaves out the names of both the complainant and the victim, the Times-Union confirmed that the victim is Klaehn's wife.The report stated the officer on the scene observed Mrs. Klaehn and that "Her face was extremely red and flush. (Redacted) had slightly slurred speech which led me to believe she may have been drinking."
Mrs. Klaehn reportedly then told the officer that she and her husband have been married for five years and that earlier in the evening they got into an argument over "just small things like money."
When the officer asked if she had been physically assaulted she initially turned away and didn't answer the question.
She then stated that her husband struck her in the face with an open hand several times.
She said her two children, ages 3 and 5, were at home at the time of the incident but in bed.
She also told officers this wasn't the first time her husband assaulted her.
When officers arrived at the Klaehn residence, it was noted in the report that nothing appeared to be out of order.
It was also noted in the report that the 5-year-old was sleeping in a back bedroom in close proximity to a handgun that was in a duty belt on a chair in the room.
Pictures of the residence including pictures of beer and the handgun were taken, according to the report.
When Klaehn was arrested he told detectives he didn't put his hands on his wife.
The report indicates that Klaehn was to be charged with a felony but he was initially booked on a misdemeanor.
Hunter said it was his understanding that there was going to be an investigation for probable cause and that the charges may change but didn't want to speak to that since it's not a WPD investigation.
Klaehn, who was hired March 23, was promoted Oct. 17 from probationary patrol officer to the second stage of his probationary status at a Board of Works meeting. Starting Nov. 6, he was slated to begin making $1,504.35 bi-weekly.
Klaehn was scheduled to attend the Indiana State Police Academy in January.
According to the FWPD police report, the complainant claimed Klaehn previously had been employed by the Allen County Sheriff's Department.
The sheriff's department public information officer Steve Stone couldn't confirm Klaehn had been employed by the department, only saying he knew Klaehn was never an officer there.
Klaehn's next court date is scheduled for Wednesday in Fort Wayne.