PFC dismisses complaint against police sergeant
Superior's Police and Fire Commission took no action against Police Sgt. Christopher Kirchoff after a compliant was filed by a citizen. Robert Wuorinen Jr., who filed the complaint, expressed disappointment over the panel's decision. "I felt they...
Superior's Police and Fire Commission took no action against Police Sgt. Christopher Kirchoff after a compliant was filed by a citizen.
Robert Wuorinen Jr., who filed the complaint, expressed disappointment over the panel's decision.
"I felt they should have been a little more concerned over the misconduct," he said.
Superior Attorney Dan Hannula, who advises the commission, said none of Kirchoff's actions broke any rule or ordinance. Kirchoff did what police officers do all the time, the attorney said.
"He made a judgment call based on his experience and training as a police officer," Hannula said. And, he added, that usually results in a difference of opinion.
The complaint was based on incidents revolving around a restraining order against Wuorinen's son, Ronald. In the first, Kirchoff arrested Ronald Wuorinen for an alleged restraining order violation. Wuorinen contends that his son was not guilty based on an agreement written into the order that allowed him to have contact with his wife if it had to do with the children. But, Wuorinen wrote in his complaint, Kirchoff would not check the order when asked to do so.
The second incident occurred when Wuorinen's daughter-in-law, Tarah Wuorinen, and her brother, Grant Hulter, came to his home to take the children when Ronald Wuorinen was not at the residence. The complaint alleges Kirchoff tipped the daughter-in-law off to the fact that the children were alone with their grandfather. Wuorinen told the Police and Fire Commission that he asked the two to leave and return with a police officer. They proceeded to walk up to the door. Wuorinen said he pushed both his daughter-in-law and her brother back, then Hulter "sucker punched" him, knocking him into a green recycling bin. The man continued to beat on Wuorinen until his sister had all the children, the complaint states.
In statements to police at the time of the incident, Tarah Wuorinen said that "Bob came at me swinging" and knocked her to the porch so hard she hit her head. Hulter, she told police, was acting in self-defense.
Wuorinen was transported by ambulance to a hospital where received stitches for a head laceration and was treated for a concussion. Officers at the scene consulted with Kirchoff, according to the Superior Police Department report. He told them to issue fighting tickets to Wuorinen and Hulter.
"Had Kirchoff used better judgment that night, it wouldn't have happened," Wuorinen said after the hearing.
The Police and Fire Commission cannot micromanage the Police Department, Hannula said, or the whole system would break down.
"The fact that he did something that another officer might have done differently, you would have done differently or even that every member of the Police and Fire Commission would have done differently isn't sufficient," Hannula said. Nothing in the complaint indicated Kirchoff broke any rule, ordinance or regulation.
Wuorinen said he felt that misjudgment is misconduct on the job.
"Just because you feel so doesn't make it so," Hannula said.
As for the fighting ticket, he said, the charge must be proved in a different forum, before the City Attorney.
Wuorinen said he has approached the Douglas County District Attorney's Office about filing criminal charges against Hulter. He said he is also contemplating a civil suit. As of Tuesday, no criminal charges against Hulter were listed in online court records.