Madison police officer Stephen Heimsness agrees to resign - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

UPDATE: Madison Officer Stephen Heimsness agrees to resign

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MADISON (WKOW) -- The officer involved in a deadly shooting last year has turned in his resignation.

The city of Madison Attorney's Office released a memo Monday, outlining an agreement between the Madison Police Department and Officer Stephen Heimsness for his removal from the force. 
 
Heimsness shot and killed Paul Heenan while responding to a burglary call in November. In the following months, MPD investigators and the Dane County District Attorney's Office cleared Heimsness of any wrongdoing-- but in June, Chief Noble Wray filed a complaint to Madison's Police and Fire Commission asking to fire Heimsness for violations of department policy.
 
On Friday, Heimsness and Wray signed a memorandum of understanding that avoids a lengthy hearing process with the PFC to determine whether Heimsness violated policy by sending inappropriate messages through his squad car laptop. Instead, Heimsness submitted his resignation.
 
City officials say as of July 1, Heimsness' status on administrative leave will change to sick leave. City policy allows Heimsness to use the sick leave he's built up before termination. Heimsness will still be on the payroll until November 23, 2013, according to the memo.
 
"If he's on administrative leave, he gets paid just as if he's working here, now he's using his sick leave that he's acquired and has the right to use," says city attorney Michael May.
 
May says this settlement speeds up the removal of Officer Heimsness who would have remained on administrative leave through the PFC hearing process, which could have taken months. 
 
Jim Palmer, executive director of the Wisconsin Professional Police Officers Association (WPPOA), says Heimsness will be filing for duty disability based on his current condition. The police union's attorney is representing Heimsness throughout this process. Palmer says the agency was prepared to take on the case, but this agreement was in the best interest of Heimsness.
 
"Officer Heimsness has been confronting PTSD since the shooting from last November, and the medical assessments he's obtained thus far are supportive of that," says Palmer. "While this is a bittersweet conclusion to his career, I think he's looking forward to moving on and taking care of his personal health."
 
A spokesperson for Wisconsin's Department of Employee Trust Funds, the agency that reviews duty disability applications, says the benefits are just for police officers and firefighters who meet certain qualifications. An applicant qualifies if their mental or physical disability is work-related, permanent and causes a reduction of work, pay, position, promotion or retirement. It typically pays employees 75 to 80 percent of their monthly salary.
 
If his application is approved, Heimsness could resign with retirement benefits from the state. 
 
Mayor Paul Soglin says he supported Chief Wray's request to remove Heimsness from the force and is satisfied with the agreement. He's working with MPD to find a way to improve policies and practices to ensure the department meets standards and regains the public's trust.
 
"My guess is that within some period of time the department will continue to be held with the highest esteem," says Soglin.
 
Palmer says WPPOA will work closely with MPD to improve working conditions too. He says Heimsness recognizes how hard the shooting was on the community and the department.
 
Scott Herrick, attorney for the PFC, tells 27 News the commission will have to still take up the motion MPD filed to dismiss Chief Wray's original complaint against Heimsness. It's on the agenda for next Monday night's meeting.
 
Chief Noble Wray was unavailable for comment Monday. A police spokesperson says Wray will be out on pre-scheduled time off all week.

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MADISON (WKOW) -- Madison's Office of the City Attorney announced just after noon on Monday that police officer Stephen Heimsness has agreed to resign from the Madison Police Department and Police Chief Noble Wray has asked the Board of Police and Fire Commissioners(PFC) to dismiss the complaint he filed asking that Heimsness be fired.

Chief Wray claimed Heimsness violated department rules by using defamatory language and using a squad-car based computer messaging system inappropriately.

The charges cite incidents that happened in the months prior to Heimsness shooting and killing an unarmed Paul Heenan, in November 2012, when Heimsness said Heenan went for his gun.

Heimsness was cleared by police investigators and the Dane County District Attorney's Office in that case.

Documents from the Office of the City Attorney show Heimsness will resign effective November 23, 2013.

He will file a Duty Disability Application and Wray states he will not object to the approval of that application. If the application is approved, Heimsness will receive benefits providing to a retiring employee.   

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