Butler citizens show support for police at public meeting

BUTLER (WITI) -- A Butler Village Board Meeting was held for Tuesday evening, June 18th -- and was the first public meeting of officials since an audit of the Butler Police Department was released earlier this month. Most of the Butler citizens on hand for Tuesday night's meeting were there to support the officers, and the police department.

"We've gotten some bad press but we are a very tight community.  I do think our police, given the opportunity, will turn this around," said Carol Zuba.

The Waukesha County NAACP has said it wants the entire Butler Police Department to be disbanded.

This, after a scathing report detailing behavior in the department was released on June 6th.

In the report, the Butler Police Department, in the heart of tiny Butler is called "dysfunctional" -- a "frat house" that was permeated with elements of "racism and pornography."

"What some of them did was wrong, but it did not interfere with their duties.  For the most part, I very much appreciate our officers," said Carol Zuba during the public hearing.

In a department with just seven officers, five are accused of viewing pornography on work computers and cell phones in a practice described by one employee as "porn in the morn."

Jesse Thyes is the Butler Village Administrator. He says an investigation was launched in February, after a village employee made a complaint against Police Chief Michael Cosgrove.

An investigation ensued, and the Waukesha County Sheriff's Department found the chief had pornography on his work computer, had made racist comments with staff members and had supervised his department through fear and intimidation.

Cosgrove retired shortly after an investigation began, with Cosgrove writing on Facebook in March: "I'm officially retired. Suck it Butler politics."

Waukesha County Sheriff's investigators interviewed the entire department.

One officer admitted to showing his privates routinely to other police officers. A police lieutenant was found to have left the village to handle a personal problem -- even though he was the only officer on duty. Multiple officers used computers to run background checks on ex's and family members.

Some of the most shocking allegations include racist comments uttered by police officers. Now, members of the NAACP of Waukesha County are demanding action -- and calling for the entire department to be disbanded.

Village officials said officers were to have eight hours of classes on issues of racism and poor behavior.

On Tuesday evening, people in Butler had the chance to speak out about the controversy surrounding the police force.

"I find it absolutely appalling that this was not found out sooner. It's shameful -- absolutely shameful that that happened," Kathleen Gregovich said.

During the public hearing, many voiced support for the officers and Cosgrove -- the now-retired police chief.

"I'm here, and I stand for them 100%, and I do know each and every one of them," Dawn Crawford said.