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Former police chief receives tickets after fight

Deputies issue Gritzner OWI, disorderly conduct tickets

In this file photo, Former Geneva Police Chief Edward Gritzner receives a plaque from former Town Chairman Dan Lauderdale. Gritzner abruptly resigned last September.

August 31, 2011 | 08:14 AM
GENEVA — Ed Gritzner was the town's police chief for 24 years. Now he may face two charges after his alleged involvement in a Sunday night bar fight at a Lake Como tavern.

On Monday, Walworth County Sheriff David Graves said his department is still investigating the incident. Deputies cited Gritzner, 56, for first-offense operating a vehicle while intoxicated and disorderly conduct. The OWI infraction is a state charge.

Kyle A. Jacob, 34, also received a disorderly conduct ticket for his involvement in the fight. Apparently, no one suffered any injuries which required immediate medical attention.

"Everyone cooperated (with police)," Graves said. "It was over before we got there."

According to Graves, town of Geneva police were called to Freddie's West End Sunday at 11:33 p.m. A town police officer requested backup from the Sheriff's Department.

Apparently, Gritzner and another man fought, then Gritzner left the tavern.

He returned a short time later, while police were interviewing the other patrons. Seven others were in the tavern at the time of the fight.

"We issued (Gritzner) for disorderly conduct because it was a bar fight, the way it sounds," he said.

As for the operating while intoxicating charge, Graves said Gritzner entered a vehicle, left the tavern and drove back. The incident report was forwarded to the Walworth County District Attorney's Office and the investigation continues.

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"With (Gritzner) being the former chief, the Walworth County Sheriff's Department took over the investigation," Graves said. This was done to avoid a conflict of interest.

Previous trouble

Gritzner retired as town police chief Dec. 31, 2010.

Although he received a warm sendoff when he announced his retirement at a special Geneva Town Board meeting September 2010, there were two issues with his conduct near the end of his 37-year career.

Gritzner was suspended from duty March 2010 for one day, with pay.

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According to the March 16 order signed by the Geneva Town Police Commission, Gritzner "engaged in actions unbecoming of an officer by virtue of him using profanity and engaging in threatening conduct towards a citizen."

In April 2010, then Town Chairman Dan Lauderdale said a local business owner filed the complaint after Gritzner called this person about five times in one day.

On Aug. 7, 2010, there was an alleged altercation between Gritzner and a Town Board supervisor at the town of Geneva Fun Festival.

To date, no town official has made a statement about this incident, but a writer had posted a comment after the event on a Regional News website.

The writer claimed Gritzner "got drunk" and had an altercation with a supervisor.

Editor's note: This online story has been corrected as a factual error was determined after publication of the Lake Geneva Regional News.

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