Police chief who stopped citing “PTSD” was under criminal investigation when he resigned

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“People want to know who did this,” Halverson told officers in a taped interview last year. “They want anyone who has done this to be prosecuted because that is not how our community works and it should not be tolerated.”

While Halverson, a former firefighter, and Scharf did not deny the history of tensions between the two, the police chief initially denied any involvement in the creation of the website and the postcards, which said “don’t don’t let Kenny burn our town down! “

“I sit in a position where I work at the will of the board and I’m certainly smart enough to stay out of the role of an election, I can tell you that,” Scharf told agents in January.

But when investigators told Scharf they had traced the website’s IP address to his home and the payments for the website to his credit card and phone number, the chief shut down. maintenance.

“So are you accusing me of doing all of this now?” Scharf asked a BCA officer. “I think at the moment I don’t want to discuss this anymore. “

Scharf went on medical leave a few days after this interview and quit months later, citing PTSD.

The Isanti County District Attorney’s Office, which reviewed the BCA’s investigation, declined to charge Scharf with breaking state campaign laws, saying he could not prove the case at -beyond a reasonable doubt.

Scharf has not responded to an email or phone calls requesting comment from 5 INVESTIGATIONS. His profile on the social media platform LinkedIn indicates that he is now a security officer for a private company in Arizona.

But before Scharf left Big Lake and State of Minnesota Police, the BCA also interviewed Matt Hayen, the chief’s second in command, who told officers the chief spoke to him shortly after being faced with the evidence against him.

“The boss called me into his office afterwards and just told me that … the IP address they had was at his house … and the boss told me he was going to have to retire because of of that, ”Hayen told BCA officers in a taped interview. in February.

“I took him like… there’s something he wants to get away from,” Hayen said. “What he wants to run away from.”

Big Lake City Council members named Hayen the city’s new police chief in July. 5 INVESTIGATIONS reported on Monday that Hayen had been placed on leave pending the outcome of an internal investigation.

Neither Hayen nor the city have commented on the nature of the allegations against him and there is no indication that this relates to the BCA’s investigation into Joel Scharf.

Big Lake City Administrator Clay Wilfahrt declined maintenance requests but emailed a statement Friday afternoon.

“The procedure of the city is to allow the criminal investigation to be completed before conducting an internal investigation,” Wilfahrt wrote. “In this case, the criminal investigation ended after Chief Scharf resigned as Chief of Police, so no internal investigation took place.”

Ken Halverson, who was ultimately elected to the board, declined to comment.

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