MILWAUKEE — Delays in an investigation of an outgoing Milwaukee Police Lieutenant have two sides pointing fingers.
Friday evening, the Milwaukee Police Department (MPD) released a statement on the I-Team’s reporting about Lt. Branko Stojsavljevic's application to retire in May. This was after Thursday's reporting of an internal investigation accusing Stojsavljevic of breaking a Department COVID vaccination policy to allow two other members to attend out-of-state federal law enforcement training, which required attendees to be vaccinated. Should he retire before the investigation is completed, he would face no discipline.
However, Inspector General Ronda Kohlheim finds inaccuracies in MPD’s own statement.
The Milwaukee Police Department makes claims it “has attempted on several occasions to serve [Stojsavljevic] while on leave of absence” and that “there are limited circumstances that a member may be served while on a leave of absence.”
The MPD statement says, “That information had been relayed to the Inspector General three days prior to the release of this news story.”
But Kohlheim says, she was not made aware of MPD’s efforts.
“However, because a member of MPD involved in the investigation is on a medical leave, the Inspector General has held off on the completion of its investigation. Additional [sic], the Inspector General is aware that there are limited circumstances where MPD may serve a member while on leave of absence; however, the Inspector General has no knowledge of MPD attempting to serve the member. In fact, the Inspector General was under the impression that MPD was awaiting the member to return to work to be served.”
If the investigation is not completed before Stojsavljevic’s retirement, the investigation stops and is listed as "member resigned-investigation pending." Because of this, even if the Inspector General's report shows the accusations against Stojsavljevic are true, he would not face any discipline.
Kohlheim says she does agree with parts of MPD’s statement; namely that no member “will be disciplined until the investigation has been completed,” and she is not aware of any evidence to support the allegation “that a member falsely created a vaccination card.”
She also agrees about the process of the two separate investigations being done by MPD and her office. However, she says her investigation has come to a halt because of MPD.
“While the Inspector General agrees with MPD that internal investigations and any investigation by MPD are governed by separate rules, overseen by separate bodies and maintain their own unique timeliness, the Inspector General agreed to postpone concluding the investigation until the completion of MPD’s investigation.”
"...the Inspector General agreed to postpone concluding the investigation until the completion of MPD’s investigation."
When asked for a response to the inspector general's comments, a Milwaukee Police Spokesperson said, "As the press release stated, the Milwaukee Police Department has attempted, on several occasions, to serve this member while on leave of absence. MPD will continue to work cooperatively with the Inspector General while conducting its own internal investigation on this matter. We take all of our internal investigations extremely seriously and hold our members to the highest level of integrity. If a member violates the code of conduct they will be held accountable."
While MPD’s most recent release points out inaccuracies about declaring any member “will be disciplined” or referencing “that a member falsely created a vaccination card,” the I-Team has clarified these points after its February story.