PFC President Gary Wescott. (Zoom)

Police and Fire Commission votes to fire Casey Bielen

By Brandi Makuski

The Stevens Point Police and Fire Commission has unanimously voted to fire Casey Bielen.

The Commission made the announcement via live video on March 29. PFC President Gary Wescott asked everyone present to mute their microphones before the decision was announced by Dean Dietrich, special counsel for the PFC who was acting as administrator for the five-day hearing.

Dietrich did not read the entire 12-page decision but said he would make the document available to pertinent parties following the Monday hearing. The Commission deliberated for four days in closed session and reached two decisions upholding Chief Robert Finn’s recommendation.

Dietrich read the following from the Commission’s report:

“The first decision involves the appeal of a disciplinary suspension issued by the department to Firefighter Bielen; the Commission, after reviewing all of the information, issues the following order: the statement of charges issued by the city should be upheld in its entirety,” Dietrich said. “The disciplinary action in the form of a four-day suspension without pay shall be implemented and the disciplinary notice shall be placed in the file of Firefighter Bielen.”

The second decision included removing Bielen from his role at SPFD.

“Casey Bielien is hereby removed from the service of the Stevens Point Fire Department for violation of the department rules and regulations and standard operating procedures effective immediately,” Dietrich said.

Bielen, a 12-year veteran of the Stevens Point Fire Department, has been on paid administrative leave since last August. He is appealing several charges filed by Fire Chief Robert Finn against him, including neglect of duty, reporting for duty while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, being AWOL, making a false report or statement, and conduct unbecoming a member of the SPFD.

The PFC heard extensive testimony over a period of two weeks relating to the series of accusations against Bielen, which include online sexual harassment of women, blowing a .089 on a preliminary breath test following the January 2020 collision, and being late for work.

According to testimony heard on March 1 and 2, Bielen provided a different location to several people who were attempting to locate him on Jan. 26. About 30 minutes after his shift was scheduled to begin, Bielen crashed his truck into the front yard of a Hull woman on the 1500 block off North Second Dr., near Backwoods Bar.

Bielen was ultimately located by the Portage Co. Sheriff’s Office and administered a roadside sobriety exam and a preliminary breath test (PBT), which returned a result of .089. Bielen was not taken under arrest, nor was he cited for operating while intoxicated.

During testimony heard on March 11 and 12, the PFC heard Bielen’s lawyer, Charles Blumenfield, attempt to prove “prejudice and bias” as reasons for the charges against Bielen, with several firefighters testifying Bielen had been treated differently by some department officers.

During his March 12 testimony, Bielen denied he harassed women online and claims he was suffering the effects of a concussion when he provided false information to his superiors following his Jan. 26, 2020, truck collision.

This story will be updated