5-0 vote: Waukesha chief’s request to change policy so he can hire his son as officer denied

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Waukesha Police Chief Russell Jack

WAUKESHA — City leaders on Wednesday, August 16th voted against the Waukesha police chief, who wants an exception to the rules so he can hire his son as a police officer.

A committee voted 5-0 to deny the request to change policy. The full city council will vote in September.

The mayor said Waukesha Police Chief Russell Jack hiring his son would be in violation of long-standing city policy, on the books for 13 years  — but there’s one city leader who does support the chief’s plan.

Alderman Aaron Perry

“In the past, we’ve had exemptions to this policy,” Alderman Aaron Perry said.

You’re not allowed to hire a family member or supervise a family member in city departments. Internal memos show Waukesha Mayor Shawn Reilly found out Chief Russell was looking to hire his son, Derek, as a patrol officer back in July. Reilly quickly sent a letter to Jack, telling the chief he can’t.

“His father, the chief, was never part of the hiring process,” Perry said.

Perry said he’s asking that the city consider an exemption.

“Regardless of your last name or who you are related to, if you’re the best person who should be in that position, you should have that position,” Perry said.

Jack declined to comment on camera, telling FOX6 News: “This issue is best handled at the human resources committee, and not in the media.”

Perry said what’s vague is the language regarding what constitutes a supervisor.

“Is his supervising them? No he’s not. There are at least two or three other layers of supervisory relationships,” Perry said.

Mayor Reilly argues state statutes are clear. The chief oversees the whole department.

Waukesha Police Department

Just days after learning of this issue, the city sent letters to all department heads, reminding them of this rule Perry says it’s time to change.

“If the public works director wanted to hire their son to drive a plow truck full-time, they should be able to if they are the most qualified person,” Perry said.

Perry said an internal audit of all city departments has been done, and it found there are other violations of this policy.