Rock County Jail correctional officers resign after investigation
JANESVILLE Two correctional officers this week resigned from the Rock County Sheriff’s Office rather than be terminated as a result of an internal investigation, Sheriff Robert Spoden said.
The investigation started because of a report of an inappropriate relationship between former officer Kristi Beyer and an inmate at the Rock County Jail, Spoden said.
Beyer died before the investigation was complete, he said.
Officers Kris Hoscheit and Greg Gill resigned Wednesday, Spoden said. They faced termination because they knew about but did not report Beyer’s violations, he said.
Hoscheit and Gill “were not engaged in any inappropriate relationships but failed to notify a supervisor” of Beyer’s actions, Spoden said.
“This is a real tragedy in that it cost one officer her life,” Spoden said. “The other two officers (Hoscheit and Gill) put friendships above their duties, and it cost them their careers as well.”
Hoscheit and Gill were put on paid leave Sept. 26-27, according to sheriff’s office records. They have worked as correctional officers at the jail since January 2007 and November 2008, respectively, Spoden said.
Beyer was placed on paid leave Sept. 18 after an inmate on Sept. 17 reported a sexual relationship between Beyer and another inmate, Spoden said.
Beyer died Sept. 19, the day jail administration planned to interview her about the inmate’s accusation. The investigation was not complete at the time, and administrators had not decided at the time of Beyer’s death whether she would be terminated, Spoden said.
Further investigation indicates Beyer had relationships that violated jail policy with several inmates, Spoden said.
One relationship was sexual, Spoden said. In other cases, Beyer smuggled contraband to inmates in the jail and spoke with them on her home telephone and cellphone, he said.
Beyer’s misconduct took place inside and outside the jail, Chief Deputy Barbara Tillman said.
“This was a classic case of an inmate manipulating an officer,” Spoden said.
The inappropriate behavior started the third week in July, according to sheriff’s office records.
Policy prohibits employees from forming social or romantic relationships with inmates. If officials found evidence of a relationship, Beyer could have been charged with the crime of misconduct in public office, Spoden said.
Beyer had worked at the jail since May 2010. Previously, she worked for 13 years at Lear Corp., The Gazette reported in a June 2010 article about Beyer and other dislocated workers.
Jail employees are regularly warned of the dangers of getting caught up in relationships with inmates, Spoden said. The subject is a topic during training, he said.
“When officers operate outside our general orders, that’s when they get tangled up in problems like this,” Tillman said. “They put themselves at risk and put other officers at risk.”
Jail administrators next week will talk to staff about the policy violations, Spoden said.
“This has been a difficult month for us,” Spoden said. “We will speak with staff next week to talk about the incident and move forward as a department.”