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Illegal strip search: Waukesha County deputy charged after retrieving marijuana from inmate at jail

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Jeffrey Haren

WAUKESHA COUNTY — A Waukesha County sheriff’s deputy is facing a misdemeanor charge, accused of conducting an illegal strip search at the Waukesha County Jail.

It happened on Nov. 19, 2017 — and the charge is misdemeanor “illegal strip search,” filed against Deputy Jeffrey Haren.

The victim is an inmate, who is currently 23 years old.

The Walworth County Sheriff’s Office led the investigation in this case.

According to a criminal complaint, in December of 2017, a Walworth County sheriff’s captain spoke with Deputy Haren regarding Haren’s interactions with the inmate in the booking room at the Waukesha County Jail on Nov. 19, 2017 around 3 a.m.

Deputy Haren stated that the inmate and two other males had been arrested and were entering the booking room when Haren smelled an odor of marijuana. The inmate admitted to having marijuana, according to Haren, and indicated it was in his “crotch area.” Deputy Haren said the inmate gave him permission to remove the marijuana, according to the complaint.

Haren said he put on rubber gloves and had the inmate stand up — turning him so that he was facing away from other inmates and deputies that were in the room. He then retrieved the bag of marijuana from the inmate. Haren denied touching the inmate’s genitals, and said he assumed the booking room was under video surveillance. He did state that he did not have authorization from the sheriff to conduct that search.

The complaint says the Walworth County sheriff’s captain spoke with the inmate on Dec. 6, 2017, and he indicated he had admitted to Deputy Haren that he had marijuana on his person in the booking room, and the deputy retrieved it while he was handcuffed. He said people in the booking room were laughing during the search.

Haren has an initial appearance in court scheduled for April 9.

A news release from the Waukesha County Sheriff’s Department announcing that Deputy Haren had been charged states that he’s a 19-year veteran deputy. He was placed on administrative leave while the investigation was pending.

The Waukesha County Sheriff’s Department is conducting a separate internal investigation.

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