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Debraska accused of helping officers file disability papers

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- FOX6 News has learned a felon -- once one of Milwaukee's most powerful leaders is being accused of helping Milwaukee police officers who are facing internal and criminal investigations to scam the city.

City officials say they've seen a huge increase in the number of Milwaukee police officers applying for "duty disability."

Police officers claim stress from internal investigations and intense media pressure makes them mentally unfit for duty.

The man accused of helping them to fill out their duty disability paperwork is a former head of the Milwaukee Police Union who has spent time in federal prison.

Bradley Debraska was once one of Milwaukee's most powerful union leaders as head of the Milwaukee Police Union. In 2010, Debraska fell from power and into federal prison.

He spent six months behind bars after being found guilty of forging documents. Many saw his conviction as the end of his public service.

"I would have wished the judge, when he made the decision to give him a slap on the wrist -- would have at least issued a decision that would have said 'you shouldn't have anything to do with the pension fund with Milwaukee, ever, ever again.'  But he chose not to do that," Alderman Michael Murphy said.

Alderman Murphy says Debraska has been making appearances in City Hall -- and sources tell FOX6 News Debraska has a new gig with a new union.

Sources say Debraska works in an unmarked building, as a consultant for the Milwaukee Police Supervisors Organization.

Sources say Debraska's signature has been showing up on disability applications, filed for Milwaukee police officers. Sources say many of the police officers file mental health disabilities after they learn they're the target of an internal investigation.

On one application, Milwaukee Police Sgt. Jason Mucha -- an officer criminally investigated (but never charged) in a case involving illegal strip searches says the stress from the events involving the case make him mentally unstable to do his job.

Sources say Debraska has helped more than a dozen applicants.

After convincing a panel of three doctors, employees receive 75% of their salary tax-free.

"The reality is, I believe the process is being abused, and it's being abused and costing taxpayers a lot of money," Alderman Murphy said.

More than a year ago, Alderman Murphy asked for an audit of the disability program -- and that audit is set to begin on Friday, November 1st.

"On the face value, when I look at some of these cases, I scratch my head and say 'how is that even remotely possible? How a detective -- how a doctor could come to that conclusion?'" Alderman Murphy said.

Alderman Murphy says doctors are given misinformation -- and says police officers with disabilities are still able to work light duty or desk jobs.

And it seems Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn agrees.

In a letter obtained by FOX6 News, Chief Flynn tells the Employee Retirement System recent disability applications have been inaccurate.

Chief Flynn says the Milwaukee Police Department has positions for officers with disabilities.

Debraska was not home when FOX6 News stopped by his home on Thursday evening -- and did not return a message.

The union that reportedly hired him, also did not return our call.

Meanwhile, Alderman Murphy is hopeful an audit now underway will dig up any wrongdoing.

"For those officers who are abusing this -- I can't tell you how angry I am.  It's such a slap in the face to the good law enforcement officers out there. It's a slap in the face to the taxpayers of the city, and for those individuals who are abusing this, I just don't know how they look in the mirror anymore.  I just don't," Alderman Murphy said.

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