By Brandi Makuski
A local law enforcement association has made the unprecedented move of denouncing a candidate for elected office.
The Portage Co. Deputy Sheriff’s Association announced in an Oct. 16 statement they formally oppose Paul Piotrowski’s candidacy for Wisconsin Senate.
In a letter signed by PCDSA President Travis Levandowski, the 44-member group said their opposition was based on an Aug. 25 statement Piotrowski made following the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha.
“While Mr. Piotrowski admitted he does not have all the facts, this did not keep him from condemning the actions by the police, calling their use of force unjustified,” the letter reads in part.
Piotrowski’s press statement on Aug. 25, 2020, follows:
“The disturbing video from the Jacob Blake officer-involved shooting in Kenosha on Sunday rightfully has people upset about the use of force depicted. I pray for a full recovery for Jacob Blake and that we keep his family in our thoughts.
The video that has been released does not show any justification for the use of deadly force that occurred. While we await a more complete account of the events that took place Sunday, we all can agree that this and similar events across the nation point to the need to find a better way of de-escalating conflicts so that everyone can feel safe and protected in their own community.
The shooting demands a full, impartial, and complete investigation be conducted by an outside agency and the quick involvement of the Division of Criminal Investigation of the Wisconsin Department of Justice is reassuring that an investigation will be taking place.”
In their letter, the group wrote that “Piotrowski’s rush to judgment is especially disturbing given the fact he is a former police officer and should understand that snap condemnations without knowing all the details is irresponsible and dangerous. Much of the violence and destruction that occurred in Kenosha after this incident can likely be attributed to this type of negligent rhetoric.”
The group called Piotrowski’s statement “a blatant political move” that “denounced the officers” involved, and that he made social media posts “before the incident could even be investigated and the truth revealed.”
“His actions are irresponsible, and further erode the public’s trust in law enforcement,” the letter reads. “We strongly believe our elected representatives must display good judgment and restraint, which he clearly has not. The Association has confidence that our fellow citizens feel this way as well, and deserve a senator that shares their beliefs.”
Piotrowski retired from SPPD in 2017 after 27 years with the department. Since then, he’s worked as a transportation security officer at the Central Wisconsin Airport and as a part-time educational assistant at SPASH.
Piotrowski was appointed as interim city clerk in October 2018, winning a full four-year term after running unopposed last April. He resigned from the role in January 2020 to challenge State Senator Patrick Testin.
A message seeking comment from Piotrowski was not immediately returned.