Milwaukee police officers accused of wrongdoing have adopted an appeals strategy that allows them to continue drawing their salary until even after they have been convicted and jailed, reports the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. In a number of cases, officers have quit days before they are to appear at a final appeal hearing. Seven of the 18 officers fired in the last two years who appealed – and whose appeals are no longer pending – either quit or retired shortly before their appeal hearing. Salaries in those cases cost taxpayers nearly $170,000.
City officials and supporters of an Assembly bill to change the 26-year-old law label the last-minute resignations evidence that the state-mandated system rewards fired officers who drag out their appeals. “This is a case of officers playing the system,” said a Milwaukee assemblywoman. The police union president defended the resignations, saying officers must file appeals to get a full picture of the city’s case against them. He said officers also need time to make a decision that will change their lives.