Chief Robert Utech Charged for Killing Cats Feb 8, 2007 14:48:18 GMT -5
Post by WaTcHeR on Feb 8, 2007 14:48:18 GMT -5
Police Chief Robert Utech
WEST CONCORD, MN -- One week after they became aware of the investigation, West Concord residents are getting some answers about their police chief.
This afternoon a felony charge was filed against Chief Robert Utech for shooting cats.
People in West Concord have been wondering what was going on with the cities' police chief since a search warrant was executed on his home and the police offices last week.
Wednesday investigators filed charges against Utech, and much of the incriminating evidence was brought forward by fellow officers.
West Concord is a small town that welcomed new police chief Robert Utech with open arms early last year. But less than one month into his new job came the first report of a dead cat, killed by a 22 caliber bullet.
By the end of the year Utech was being investigated for this and several other cat shootings.
Dodge County Sheriff Gary Thompson says, "Some of them we believe were family pets and there are some claims that some of them were feral cats."
Wednesday Utech was charged with felony mistreating animals and misdemeanor misconduct of a public official.
The charges come after a long investigation with some of the key evidence coming from possible future or former officers who rode in a squad car with Utech.
Thompson says, "Some of the information that came out of the investigation was, it was I guess disturbing to say the least."
According to the complaint one former officer said Utech told him he shot cats because there wasn't much to do in the town.
That officer also says he witnessed Utech shoot a cat from the passenger window of a squad car.
The same officer goes on to say that Utech shot a dog belonging to a city resident, but wasn't worried about getting in trouble because the city's mayor Burton Boe was with him at the time.
The mayor spoke with us last week but declined an on camera interview Wednesday, saying he was waiting to see if the charges were proved true and that it was time for the town to move on.
Others in the city say this is a black eye that won't soon be forgotten.
Resident Ted Knutson says, "Throws kind of a bad slur against the community when you have someone that's high, an official like that, a chief of police with something that's wrong with him."
For now Utech remains on administrative leave, with pay, while the city conducts their own internal investigation.
City Administrator Scott Umsted says, "Notice will have to be given to the post board of the charges against him and if they pull his license, of course at that point and time he's no longer a police officer so we'll have to look at our options at that time."
Utech appeared in court today to hear the charges and the next step will be a hearing where he'll need to make a plea.
Thursday night West Concord's City Council will meet to decide what, if any action they'll take against the chief.