MILWAUKEE — A Milwaukee Police Department (MPD) officer is facing five counts of possession of child pornography, according to a criminal complaint.
Mark Horstmeyer was charged after the MPD internal affairs division received a citizen tip regarding an officer who was in possession of child pornography.
Horstmeyer made his first appearance Tuesday in Milwaukee County Court. A commissioner set a $15,000 signature bond.
"Each one of these has a maximum of a $100,000 fine, 25 years imprisonment, or both," said Milwaukee County Commissioner Grace Flynn.
According to the complaint, police searched his home back in May. The complaint states a forensic search of a hard drive in his bedroom showed five files of child pornography. Investigators believe there could be more.
"For the past eight years, Mr. Horstmeyer has been working as a city of Milwaukee police officer," said defense attorney Matt Last. "He was working in that capacity at the time of his arrest on this matter."
Milwaukee police say the tipster reported the alleged crimes happened off duty at Horstmeyer's home. As soon as MPD found out, he was immediately placed on complete suspension.
Horstmeyer has since submitted his resignation, and MPD says he is no longer a member.
He was taken into custody earlier this week.
"Mr. Horstmeyer was out of the state in Florida on vacation with his family when he was contacted by detectives over the phone and asked to come back to Wisconsin immediately," Last said.
Horstmeyer's attorney said he did not have a comment at this time.
A statement from the Milwaukee Police Association President Andrew Wagner states, "The accusations levied against Mr Horstmeyer are distributing (sic). We believe in everyone's right to a fair trial and due process and do not know all the facts behind the case. If convicted the Milwaukee Police Association does not represent members who are involved with these felonies incidents. The Milwaukee Police Association and it's members represent the highest level of professionalism day in and day out, we strive to protect our community and be role models to those around us. If found guilty there is no place in our ranks for someone who has so greatly violated that trust."
Horstmeyer has been prohibited from using social media. He is due back in court for a preliminary hearing July 14.
If convicted on these five charges, Horstmeyer could face a maximum of more than 100 years in prison.