JUNEAU – Former Mayville Police Chief Christopher MacNeill waived his preliminary hearing Thursday after the court discussed a plea agreement that would reduce felony charges against him to misdemeanor charges.
MacNeill, 49, is charged with a felony count of misconduct in public office and a misdemeanor charge of obstructing an officer. He appeared before Dodge County Circuit Court Judge Brian Pfitzinger Thursday and entered a not guilty plea.
However, special prosecutor, Wisconsin Assistant Attorney General Shelly Rusch spoke to the Dodge County Court about a plea deal that has been agreed to by both parties. With the deal MacNeill will enter a plea to three misdemeanor charges to avoid the felony charge. The state will not recommend jail or probation time, but there will be a fine.
Also, MacNeill will waive his rights to an appeal and the outcome will be reported to the Wisconsin Division of Law Enforcement Services.
Wisconsin Department of Justice Division of Criminal Investigation agents started an investigation of MacNeill in the fall 2016.
He also was investigated by the Watertown Police Department at the request of Mayville Mayor Rob Boelk. Boelk’s request came after the DCI served a search warrant on the city of Mayville Feb. 6, 2017. Boelk placed MacNeill on paid administrative leave Feb. 9. He resigned March 31 as chief.
MacNeill is accused of altering a report about the son of a former Mayville police officer.
The report written by Mayville police officer Tony Trunkel originally stated that a 17-year-old boy had two Vicodin pills at Mayville High School Jan. 13, 2011, and that he swallowed one with a soda and handed one to another student who did the same thing. A teacher caught them in the act. The student served a five-day suspension, according to school officials interviewed by Watertown police. The report originally classified the matter as a drug investigation and labeled the teen as a “suspect.”
MacNeill told DCI investigators during a Feb. 6 interview that he changed the report label from “Drug Complaint” to “miscellaneous” or “high school” complaint. The DCI investigators showed MacNeill a copy of the original complaint written by Trunkel. They had obtained that complaint from former Mayville Police Chief William Linzenmeyer Sr., who retired in 2011.
Linzenmeyer told DCI investigators that he made a copy of the complaint and preserved it when he left office because MacNeill had asked him to change the report at the time of the incident and he was concerned that it could be changed after he retired. According to investigators, the records were changed in August 2011, a few months after Linzenmeyer retired.
MacNeill told DCI investigators that he changed the report because the police officer’s son was trying to get into the military. But when he was provided the original complaint, MacNeill denied making changes to the extent he observed in the report.
Investigators found the report went from six pages to four and witness statements were removed. Also removed were any references to the drug in question being Vicodin.
Watertown investigators concluded that although MacNeill denies removing the statements or drug references. “All of these changes ... are consistent with the changes Chief MacNeill admits to making and in the same spirit and intent Chief MacNeill says he used to justify making the changes he admits to.”
MacNeill also said he discussed changes to the report with Trunkel, but Trunkel told DCI investigators that he did not discuss making any changes.
A telephone scheduling conference will occur Aug. 23.