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Kenosha County Eye

Body-Cam Footage of Convicted Pleasant Prairie Police Officer Released: Chief Lets Him Keep His Badge

Officer Jaden Kleinke (26) of Kenosha Mugshots
Pleasant Prairie Police Chief David Smetana

Pleasant Prairie Police Officer Jaden Kleinke (34) of Kenosha was convicted last month of misdemeanor operating while impaired in Menominee, MI from an incident that occurred on December 26, 2020. Menominee Police listed the offense as “Super Drink Driving” as Kleinke blew a .17, more than twice the legal limit in both Michigan and Wisconsin. He was given warnings for reckless driving and open intoxicants by a driver in a vehicle.

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The Arrest

Kleinke was spotted by Officer Mark Kropf driving recklessly as he was on a separate traffic stop (00:08). The officer left the stop he was on and drove very quickly to catch up to Kleinke. According to Kropf’s report, Kleinke was driving at a high rate of speed in a 25mph zone and he cut off another car, which had to slam on its brakes. He then turned at a red light.

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Officer Kropf initiated a traffic stop on Kleinke (1:00). He asked him several questions. Kleinke denied having anything to drink – (2:10 LIE #1). Jaden didn’t make much sense while talking and slurred his words pretty severely. He gave the officer his Police ID (2:30). Kleinke said several times that the Menominee officer “scared” him (2:51 2:52, 2:53, and 3:18). The officer went back to his squad and returned to Kleinke again. He said he was willing to work with Kleinke but was looking “for a little honesty”, then Kleinke said yet again two more times that he hasn’t been drinking. (4:12 Lie #2 and Lie #3). He said he was “fine to drive” (Lie #4.) He returned to his police car and went back to Kleinke in his truck again, this time covering his body-cam (4:45). He asked Kleinke to step out of his truck and be straight with him. Kleinke then said again that he hadn’t had anything to drink. He asked Kleinke if he could him through “HGN”, a field sobriety rest. Kleinke then said, “you are putting me in a position”, to which the officer responded “no, you are putting ME in this position.” He asked Kleinke again if he was fine to drive and Kleinke said “I am” (6:10 Lie #5). He then went on to say “this is literally a wake-up call to the MAX” and “I deserve this.” (6:42) He then said “I don’t want to answer (questions).” Menominee Police Officer Mark Kropf then returned to his squad, took off his body camera and placed it on the dash board. (8:19) He pointed it towards the truck and did not deactivate it. He then approached the young Pleasant Prairie Police Officer for a third time. We don’t know what is said here. He then went back to his squad car and placed his body cam back on. Menominee Police Sergeant Andrew Bunch then arrived to the scene. (26:59) He told Kropf, “nothing special here”, in other words, he wanted Kleinke to be treated like anyone else. He told Kleinke that if he blew .1 or above, he was going to jail. (The limit is .08)

Officer Kropf then did Field Sobriety Tests on Kleinke. Kleinke seemed to do pretty well, even in Crocks. Where he had the toughest time, however, was with the alphabet. He spoke for a long while about how he knows the alphabet but might not be able to do this test. He failed it pretty badly. He then blew over the limit and was arrested. Officer Kropf told Kleinke that in MI, a DWI 1st is a misdemeanor crime, not a civil forfeiture like in WI. Kleinke then says “I really don’t even care. My life is pretty much fucked, so let’s go!” (22:18) He then talks about the imminent “release of the Kenosha shooting” referring DA Graveley’s decisions on charging Officer Sheskey. (22:43)

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While being arrested, Sgt. Bunch asked Kleinke if he had any open alcohol in the truck to which Kleinke replied “no” – (21:02 LIE #6.) Sgt. Bunch then searched the truck and found and empty White Claw in the back pouch of the passenger’s seat.(25:49) It was within arms reached and the Sgt. said Kleinke must have poured it our during the traffic stop. The floor had a large pool of alcohol on it. (Deceit/Obstruction).

Chief Smetana initially spoke to us about the arrest and convictions saying that there would be an “internal investigation”. After we learned that Kleinke was put back on duty, he stopped responding to us. There are several very serious concerns with Kleinke being back on the job. The most serious concern is that he will likely be placed on the DA’s “Brady List”. This means he will be blacklisted among law enforcement. Any arrests he makes will be scrutinized and when he testifies in court, defense attorneys will question his integrity and honesty. Rightfully so. He broke the law. He put lives in danger. He lied to police officers at least 6 times. He hid evidence. How can he be trusted to tell the truth on the job or in court? Kenosha DA Mike Graveley is aware of this incident and said to a resident in an email that “we will look into the info.” Pleasant Prairie Chief Smetana’s Facebook page is littered with “the thin blue line” images. For some officers, its a sign of solidarity for an important and dangerous job. For Smetana, it means defending all officer’s actions. We hope Smetana will reconsider. Kleinke should not be banned from working, just not as a peace officer. Gaining the public’s trust is difficult to due when you lie repeatedly and commit a serious crime. See the body-cam video below. All the many hours of raw video are on our YouTube channel, but here is an edited video with only the important parts:

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  • Kevin Mathewson

    Kevin Mathewson is a disciple of Christ, husband and a father to two wonderful children. Mathewson was born and raised in Lake County, IL and worked as a police & fire dispatcher from 2005 to 2010 in Round Lake Beach, IL. Mathewson moved to Kenosha County in 2006, later being elected to the position of Alderman of the 8th District in 2012 and 2016. Mathewson is a private investigator, security contractor, journalist, and photographer. He enjoys spending time with his family, watching movies, camping and boating. His favorite amendment is the second, followed closely by the first. He loves his country and community.


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4 Responses

  1. It comes down to CREDIBILITY.
    If a Police Officer expects you to be TRUTHFUL, then the Police Officer, also needs to respect the importance of being TRUTHFUL.
    It appears Chief Smetana has failed to see the importance of TRUTHFULNESS and that Steinke fails in this attribute.
    Steinke’s credibility in future court appearances will forever be called into question.

  2. I love how the cop says he would work with him as long as Kleinke was honest. In other words, I’d bet they would have drove him home with no repercussions had he just been honest with the cop. More double standard cop BS…..they would have never done that with a normal citizen.

  3. Got to love the Uppers,. yeh !
    Courteous and professional all the way.
    The heel to toe walk is difficult sober with your arms tuck onto your side, Kleinke did it well under the influence of………….
    Let’s hope Kleinke is smart enough to learn from this episode, become both a better person and cop and attend A.A.

  4. You guys talk trash about bad cops and criminals alike. I like the cut of your jib. All the tribalism is terrible for society. I hope you guys can take on more work in the future and provide more frequent stories.

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