UPDATE: Phillips Police Chief on Paid Leave

By: Clare Kaley Email
By: Clare Kaley Email
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UPDATE: Fri 4:19 PM, Mar 7, 2014

The Phillips Police Chief is now on paid administrative leave pending an investigation, according to the city's clerk.

The Mayor of Phillips filed a complaint against Chief David Sonntag calling for the chief's removal from office.

It accuses Sonntag of multiple policy and law violations, including falsifying information in a police report that lead to a suspect unlawfully held in jail for days, and pulling someone over in his personal pick-up truck.

Newschannel 7 also has obtain a copy of a 38 page report that outlines acts of misconduct in office when he served as the Police Chief in Mazomanie, which ultimately led to his resignation there.

When Newschannel 7 first broke the story on Monday, we told you a hearing would be set for March 11th.

Now, the attorney's on both sides say they won't be ready until May at the earliest. That's when the city's Police Review Committee will decide where to go from here.

ORIGINAL STORY: Mon 6:29 PM, Mar 3, 2014

An area police chief is under fire after allegations he abused his power and violated several laws. The mayor of Phillips has filed a complaint with the city against Police Chief David Sonntag.

Chief Sonntag has been the police chief in Phillips for nine years. Now, the mayor is accusing him of intentionally falsifying legal documents, illegally pulling over a citizen and more. He's saying the police chief should be suspended, then after a review, fired.

The complaint was filed on February 18th by Phillips mayor, Charles Peterson. It lists several examples of how Police Chief David Sonntag broke the law.

One of them accuse him of intentionally falsifying an affidavit. The documents show on May 4th, 2012, a search warrant was executed on a home by the Phillips Police Department. Officers found a "green leafy material" which they believed to be marijuana.

According to the documents, Chief Sonntag said the substance had been tested by an officer and was confirmed as marijuana. But when the officer was asked if these tests were performed, he said they were not. Because of it, the documents show the suspect was in jail unlawfully for three days.

The document also accuses the chief of claiming mileage for a trip to Madison for a meeting. However, the meeting was the day before, and the chief did not attend.

Then, a letter was accidentally sent to the police department but addressed to the City Clerk. According to the complaint, Chief Sonntag opened the letter, read, and copied its contents, giving the letter to others. The complaint states this violated federal law.

In July of 2013, the documents show Chief Sonntag used his personal vehicle to pull over, what he called, an erratic driver. The vehicle the chief was driving was not authorized for police purposes, and did not have a siren, which emergency vehicles are required to have.

When a Price County Sheriff's Deputy came out to the scene, he determined there was no erratic driving.

Many Aldermen in the City say they are not commenting on the allegations. Chief Sonntag says he has been advised not to comment. The complaint is being reviewed by the police review committee. They have brought in an attorney from Madison to help with the investigation.

A public hearing on the matter is scheduled for March 11th.

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