Chief Wetzel Responds To Scathing Survey by FOP

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Last week's City Council meeting created a roller coaster ride for the Chief of Police, Jim Wetzel.

News 13's Justin Roth attended a press conference Wednesday where he addressed some of the concerns.

There were many different answers from the Fraternal Order of Police survey, including a lack of a supportive atmosphere and toxic environment in the police force.

Chief Jim Wetzel responded, "Hey message received! Okay I've taken one on the chin numerous times in numerous ways over the last three years. This was one hell of a right hook but message received."

The chief addressed several issues; many in the survey felt they get punished for doing work that made news, and their jobs were at risk.

Wetzel responded, "It's very very difficult for me to terminate somebody for me to demote somebody we have civil service process and procedures and those are the protects those are in place to protect the officers."

Acknowledging he works for the citizens of Casper and every remark is taken thoughtfully.

"We're accountable to the community and the citizens and we're looking into that. We're expected to operate at a very high standard we carry a lot of power and authority with us and with that when a complaint comes we have to take that seriously and look into it," Wetzel said.

Mayor Humphrey said this to News 13 last week in response to the survey.

"It's somewhat concerning. I do recognize that it paints one side of a story but there's enough feedback and enough respondents in their that I think council needs to take very seriously and look into."

She goes on to say she has never encountered anything like this before.

Chief Wetzel added he has begun the process to mend the fences with the police force. "I need to make myself more available to them. Clearly they need to get to know me and I need to get to know them and that has to happen on a personal one to one interaction bases. So I can help fix the misconception that I don't understand the challenges and the issues that they are facing when on patrol."

The Casper Police Department is already making policy changes to address some concerns in the survey.

Chief Wetzel said he wants to focus on the constructive criticism.

At the end of the press conference Chief Wetzel said he will address the media next week following the submission of a comprehensive report to council.