RICE LAKE, WI - The City of Rice Lake has completed its review of concerns raised by the City of Rice Lake Police Association after 10 Rice Lake Police Officers signed a Letter of No Confidence in Police Chief Steve Roux. You can read the Public Statement issued by the City in its entirety below.
On April 13, 2020, the City of Rice Lake Professional Police Association provided elected leaders of the City of Rice Lake a letter regarding Chief of Police Steve Roux. This letter was a generalized statement issued by the Police Association identifying areas of concern, but did not provide specific details.
The City Council’s Personnel and Negotiations Committee quickly met on April 15, 2020, and immediately decided to meet with the Police Association and receive information from them regarding their concerns, and to consider the best course of action for the City and for effective law enforcement services for our community.
The PNC met with members of the Police Association for many hours on May 1, 2020, and with Chief Roux on May 7, 2020 to obtain information related to these matters.
After conducting an examination of the information provided, the Council and Mayor Diercks have closed their review of the concerns raised in the Letter by the Police Association. Based on the information received, the City Council and Mayor Diercks have complete and full confidence that Chief Roux can effectively lead the Police Department and that subordinates of the Police Department, including those members represented by the Police Association, can effectively serve under Chief Roux’s leadership. Likewise, the Council and PNC recognize, respect, and will remember the important policy perspectives raised by the members of the Association involving staffing, officer safety, assignments, and training. The Council acknowledges its policy decisions directly affect the frontline personnel in the department. The perspective of these employees is certainly valued by the Council.
The PNC review of this matter resulted in concluding there was no evidence of misfeasance, malfeasance, or anything rising to an even more serious level by Chief Roux. The PNC also concluded that Chief Roux holds subordinates accountable and that his decisions were not unreasonable or illegitimate.
The PNC identified that effective bilateral communication between members of the Police Association and Chief Roux could have obviated concerns of some of the employees. Some of this discontent emanated from misperceptions and placing blame on Chief Roux for policy decisions of the City Council. Effective bilateral communications are necessary to avoid misperceptions and dissension among employees who do not have the full complement of the facts or understanding of the reasoning for decisions made by Chief Roux or the City Council.
According to PNC Chair Larson, “We are grateful that members of the Police Association shared their concerns and worked cooperatively with the PNC to address this matter, and we are grateful that Chief Roux has handled this matter in the spirit of effective law enforcement leadership and service to our community. While a complaint often focuses on the alleged faults of one person, it is incumbent upon all involved in this situation to effectively communicate with one another to address these matters with the facts and full understanding of decisions rather than allowing speculation and misinformation to form judgment. We are confident Chief Roux and personnel of the Police Department can effectively communicate with one another and serve for the best interests of our community.”
The City Council and Mayor Diercks expect that law enforcement services will be conducted in a highly professional and dignified manner. The Mayor and Council remain highly confident in the sworn law enforcement officers of the City of Rice Lake Police Department and in Chief Roux’s continued leadership.