MARSHFIELD, Wis. (WSAW) -- The Wisconsin Professional Police Association and fired Marshfield Police Officer Jerad Beauchamp are scheduled to meet with Chief Rick Gramza Friday after the WPPA filed a grievance.
WPPA executive director, Jim Palmer told NewsChannel 7 after serving 21 years at Marshfield Police Department, Off. Beauchamp was fired at the end of January for failing a physical fitness test, specifically running about 30 seconds slower than required by one of the tests.
Palmer said the WPPA does not discourage physical fitness tests for officers, but by law, they must have "some resemblance to an officer's job duties." He said running a quarter of a mile in two minutes and 15 seconds has no relation to essential job functions of officers.
Palmer asserts the firing was "clearly discriminatory" saying the standards for new officers are more lenient. He added, during the course of Off. Beauchamp's service he at one point suffered a knee injury. He also said he has a clean record as an officer at the department. Palmer continued support from community members on social media has popped up asking the department to reinstate him, including former Wood County Sheriff candidate, John Hiller, posting a blue line flag with the words "I STAND WITH 159."
Palmer said he and Off. Beauchamp will be meeting with Chief Gramza Friday, adding they hope to resolve the issue during that meeting and that Chief Gramza would have the ability to return Off. Beauchamp to service immediately if he chose to.
Palmer said if he is not reinstated, they plan to attend the next city personnel meeting to make a case and will push this grievance further if necessary.
Chief Gramza told NewsChannel 7 he is limited in what he can say as this is a pending personnel matter and provided the following statement.
Our community expects us to run toward danger, to protect those in harm’s way, and to be physically ready to fulfill our responsibilities as guardians for our community. Our community needs all of our law enforcement officers to maintain a state of physical readiness by being able to meet the minimum physical standards required by the Police Department’s annual physical readiness test. The collective bargaining agreement between the City and the Police Association that addresses this annual physical readiness testing helps us ensure to our community that our law enforcement officers can physically perform when unpredictable life-altering situations arise. We do not believe the public would want us to compromise on this basic fundamental expectation. We will hold ourselves accountable for maintaining the physical readiness necessary to protect our community.