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Colby man brings citation dispute to commission

A Colby resident upset about a disorderly conduct citation he received tried to plead his case before the Colby-Abbotsford police commission Monday, but the police chief told him to save his arguments for his day in court.

Mike Kreciak told members of the commission that his neighbors “falsifi ed” a police report against him on Oct. 26, resulting in him wrongly being cited for disorderly conduct.

Kreciak, who has had a long-running conflict with his Sixth Street neighbors over their dogs running loose, said the incident that led to the citation started when his neighbors drove through a pile of leaves he had put out on the street for the city to pick up. He said this happened twice before he decided to confront them.

“I tried to solve it in a civilized manner,” he said.

When his neighbors arrived home, Kreciak said he stood in his driveway and told them “in a polite and courteous manner” that he and the other neighbors would appreciate it if they did not drive through the pile of leaves.

In response, he said one of his neighbors “went ballistic.”

“As soon as she went ballistic, my conversation was short and brief,” he said. “Right to the point: ‘Have a good day. Bye.’” Lt. Alex Bowman was called to the scene by Kreciak’s neighbors, and after speaking to them, Kreciak said Bowman came and told him that they had accused him of being loud and threatening. Kreciak said this was not the case.

“I was cordial and polite, and I did it from my driveway,” he said.

Kreciak said he deliberately stayed on his own property because the last time he went on the neighbors’ property to discuss something, one of them “got up in his face.” He said this was documented in a 2012 incident report, and he did not talk to them again until Oct. 26.

During his short conversation with Bowman on Oct. 26, Kreciak said “nothing was mentioned about a ticket.”

“Had a ticket been mentioned, I would have said ‘Sir, please put your pen away until we view the video,’” he said, referring to the surveillance cameras on his property that captured the incident.

In his incident report, Bowman says Kreciak admitted to “yelling loudly” at his neighbors and “apologized for his behavior.” Five days later, Kreciak said he received a disorderly conduct citation in the mail.

Police chief Jason Bauer told Kreciak that the police commission is “not a court,” and he needs to wait until he appears in circuit court to argue his case.

According to online court records, Kreciak submitted a not guilty plea in writing on Nov. 5. The last activity listed was a pre-trial conference on Nov. 10.

Bauer said officers take statements from both sides of an incident, and in this case, they decided to issue the citation to Kreciak based on his neighbor’s statement.

“If everybody acts like adults, we don’t have to give tickets,” he said.

Still, Kreciak said he spoke to Bauer after receiving the ticket, and claims that Bauer was going to look into “voiding” the citation. Bauer said that’s not the case.

“I gave you your options,” Bauer said, referring to Kreciak’s right to plead not guilty if he feels the charges are false.

The city’s attorney, Bill Gamoke, has also presented Kreciak with a deferred prosecution agreement, which would allow the charge to be dismissed as long as Kreciak was not convicted of any other disorderly conduct charge over the next 12 months. However, if he signed the agreement, Kreciak would give up his right to contest the citation in court.

Also,if Kreciakweretobeconvicted of a second disorderly conduct charge within a year, the $250.90 fine from the original citation would be automatically imposed.

Kreciak told Bauer that the police acted prematurely when issuing him a citation.

“Not all the facts were in, sir,” he said. “Sir, I tried to use common sense to solve this in a civilized manner.”

At the same time, Kreciak questioned why it took the police department 18 months to issue a citation to his neighbors for allowing their dogs to run loose. He said he first approached the police in February 2018, and had video evidence of the dogs out loose.

Bauer said he’s not going to spend time reviewing Kreciak’s video footage.

“We’re not going to debate this here,” he told Kreciak.

Before leaving the meeting, Kreciak said the city of Colby was “jeopardizing public safety” by allowing his neighbors to keep a “nonregistered, non-tagged dog in their residence” from February 2018 to August of this year.

Other business

_ The commission approved $17,888 in monthly expenditures.

_ The commission approved $25 chamber of commerce gift cards for each of the officers as Christmas gifts.

_ As part of his monthly report, Bauer said the school resource offi cer’s vehicle recently had a $3,000 bill for a transfer case, which put the department’s vehicle maintenance line way over budget. He said the department is still waiting on check from the state of Wisconsin as reimbursement for the SRO’s travel to police academy earlier this year.

_ The department’s K-9 had three deployments and zero arrests in November, according to the monthly report.

_ The commission met in closed session to discuss wage negotiations for Lt. Alex Bowman, but no motions were made in open session.