Sheriff Hakes releases statement on Chippewa County Board investigation

Sheriff Hakes
Sheriff Hakes(WEAU)
Published: Sep. 20, 2023 at 9:16 AM CDT
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CHIPPEWA COUNTY, Wis. (WEAU) - On Tuesday night, the Chippewa County Board held a four-hour closed session to discuss allegations made by a county employee concerning Sheriff Travis Hakes’ conduct in the workplace.

The accusations or details of Sheriff Hakes’ alleged misconduct have not been made public yet.

During the meeting, the board administration said it would write a letter to the sheriff expressing disapproval of the alleged behavior and will hand the matter over to the Chippewa County District Attorney.

The Chippewa County Board will hold another discussion on the matter on October 10th.

In response to the allegations made against him, Sherriff Hakes released this statement:

“Late Tuesday night, September 19, 2023, like many of the residents and constituents of Chippewa County I was shocked and dismayed to learn from media reports that it appears that the power structure of Chippewa County in the form of at least some commissioners and administration, are apparently unhappy with the fact that I have a constitutional duty to independently act in the best interests of Chippewa County residents, rather than to cater to their whims and caprices, have voted to initiate action against me as the duly elected county sheriff. This cabal of those that wish to thwart the decision of Chippewa County voters in electing who they want as sheriff, as reported in the media, have sunk so low as they will be considering to take action in an attempt to remove me from office. I intent to resist that effort with every ounce of my being and I assure the voters I will not let these few autocrats deny you the right to select your chief county law enforcement officer.

The action of the county board, apparently in conjunction with county administration, was with taken without even the pretense of due process or fundamental fairness to me or the Office of Sheriff. It was taken in a Star Chamber setting in which not only the public, but I was excluded from participation in any meeting and denied even the chance to be informed about what allegations the Board considered or to present my side of whatever false narrative they acted upon. To my knowledge no formal complaint has ever been filed against me, nor presented to me and the Board took this action without even inviting or asking me to appear before it. In America we believe in due process and that includes the right to be advised of charges against us and the right to confront and examine the evidence used against us. That is apparently an American value that this Board does not share, and for that fact the voters of this county should be especially disappointed.

I realize that in many parts of this country it has become politically fashionable to disparage and bash law enforcement officers for doing their jobs. It is sad to see that these people have climbed on that bandwagon. I take my oath of office to support and defend the constitution very seriously and that includes protection from unconstitutional and over reaching acts by other elected officials and their minions. I look forward to the opportunity to clear my name and reputation from the false and defamatory actions of these selected few individuals.”

For more details on Tuesday night’s board meeting, click here.