While the Kenosha News was putting out an article about a woman in Baraboo, WI getting a DUI, and a Wind Point, WI couple battling with their Homeowners Association, we’ve been battling with Kenosha County HR and Bill Beth’s attorneys to get to the truth about his demotion. When a public servant in our community is being reprimanded severely for misconduct, you deserve to know what happened. We are happy to tell you that we can finally do just that. We received the 207-page document that is entitled “Statement of charges filed by Chief Deputy Marc Levin against Captain Bill Beth.” Bill Beth’s attorneys initially threatened to go to court to prevent its release, but we promised the attorneys that we would fight it, and win. They relented and told us they would not be filing an action in court. Today Kenosha County HR director Clara Tappa released to us this document.
In December 2020, a few months after the Kenosha riots, the Kenosha County Sheriff’s Department commenced a broad investigation involving the use of “s days” or comp time as it is commonly referred to. Supervisors (Sergents, Lieutenants, and Captains) at the Sheriff’s department are salaried and are not paid overtime when they work more than 40 hours in a week. Comp time is paid time off designed to compensate a supervisor for working more than 40 hours in a week. During the riots, many of the hard-working supervisors had to work more than 75 hours in a week. To compensate the supervisors, Sheriff David Beth offered each one of them one paid 8-hour “mental health day”. Retired Captain Robert Hallisey was placed on administrative leave during the beginning of Bill Beth’s alleged conduct. Hallisey allegedly approved comp time above the 8 approved hours without permission from his superiors or according to County policy. Hallisey retired in the middle of this internal investigation. Bill Beth drafted a memo with the help of his subordinates that outlined a policy that would allow supervisors to take a great deal of comp time within either a two week period or a 30-day period after the extra work was put in. According to Chief Deputy Marc Levin, Bill Beth implemented this policy and began to approve hundreds of hours of comp time unilaterally.
In a command staff meeting, Bill Beth handed out copies of this memo and was adamant about discussing it and having it approved. The Sheriff, who is Bill Beth’s cousin, became extremely angry, shouted, and sent the supervisors back to their offices. The sheriff was incredibly upset that Bill Beth was pushing for a policy that got another captain in big trouble. Another captain, Justin Miller, warned Bill Beth to stop approving all of this unauthorized paid time off. One supervisor described Bill Beth’s conduct as “the biggest case of insubordination he has seen in his career” spanning multiple decades.
Another independent internal investigation was commenced. This time Bill Beth was the target. Since the Sheriff had a conflict, the Kenosha County HR department hired a Milwaukee-area private investigation firm to investigate. This company sent two highly decorated former law enforcement officers to Kenosha. The extensive investigation showed that all of the command staff member’s stories lined up, except for one – Bill Beth’s. Chief Deputy Mark Levin concluded that Bill Beth lied to investigators and his superiors.
Chief Deputy Levin says in his report:
“Captain Beth’s conduct reflects poor and inexcusable judgment, insubordination, manipulation, dishonesty, and conduct unbecoming of a captain. Standing alone, his conduct involving producing a memorandum and implementing a plan for salaried-exempt supervisory personnel to receive paid leave for working outside their normal shifts – while a significant and sweeping County internal investigation involving possible misuse of leave time was occurring – reflects abhorrent judgment unfit for any person in a high-ranking leadership capacity and requires substantial disciplinary consequences. His misleading assertions during the investigation also warrant consideration for substantial disciplinary consequence. While removal from service may be an appropriate action pending Captain Beth’s response to these charges, his reduction in rank from Captain to Sergeant is necessary at a minimum, which the undersigned believes is requisite and proper and for just cause”
In 2016, Bill Beth, then a Lieutenant, was disciplined for acting “above his pay grade” by issuing a memo to subordinates that they can “take a 10% pay raise or get nothing!” Chief Deputy Levin noted that Beth, “rather than fully embracing the importance of that incident and learning from it, Captain Beth has now engaged in significantly more egregious misconduct while serving in the higher rank of Captain.”
Bill Beth has now had three days of hearings after he appealed the two-rank demotion to the county finance and administration committee. There are expected to be possibly three more days of hearings. At least six of the seven members of this committee are expected to side with Bill Beth, possibly because of political reasons. Beth’s embattled son, Dustin Beth has professional relationships with some of the members. The County Board members, some of which have accepted endorsements from the Beth family, will ultimately decide if Bill Beth will be fired, restored to the rank of captain, or remain at the rank of Sergeant. We asked the six members that did receive endorsements from the Beth family and voted to hold the hearing since secret, if that will influence their decision, and not one of the six responded to our inquiry. The investigators asked the Sheriff what he wanted to see happen to his cousin and he responded “He’s my cousin so I want to leave that up to you. I want to stay out of it.”
In many disputes about conduct, there are two witnesses. This is usually known as a he said / she said. In this case, there are many trustworthy witnesses that contradict the statements of Bill Beth.
Opinion: The County finance and administration committee should uphold Sergeant Bill Beth’s demotion at minimum, or reduce his rank to Deputy. Bill Beth is currently assigned to the conveyance division in the basement of the courthouse where he has almost no interaction with the public. There are many credible witnesses that collaborate the fact that he broke many serious rules and acted recklessly. He likely lied, and police officers who lie cannot be trusted in court when testifying, or in general. Bill Beth was probably emboldened by the fact that his big cousin is in charge. His cousin did after all promote him many times. Bill was widely expected to run for Sheriff but with this black mark, that won’t happen now. A large bullet dodged.
The County Board should reform the comp time policy so that supervisors who put in an incredible amount of hours in a week should be compensated in some manner. These men and women put their lives on the line to keep us safe and their time is valuable.