Craig Police Department officer arrested on suspicion of domestic violence, harassment
Eight-year veteran Frank Schmedeke released on bond, suspended with pay
November 28, 2011
A Craig Police Department officer has been released from Moffat County Jail following his arrest Sunday night for an alleged domestic violence incident.
Frank Schmedeke, 37, an eight-year police department veteran, was arrested at 9:41 p.m. at his home in the 1100 block of Legion Street on suspicion of harassment and domestic violence against his wife.
Schmedeke posted a $750 personal recognizance bond Monday, according to court records. He has no prior convictions in Moffat or Routt counties, according to records.
Craig Police Chief Walt Vanatta said Schmedeke has been suspended.
"It's standard practice if we have an officer that gets arrested, they go on administrative suspension until the case is investigated and he is either cleared or some other action is taken," Vanatta said.
Vanatta said an administrative suspension is paid.
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In addition to a criminal investigation currently underway by the Moffat County Sheriff's Office and 14th Judicial District Attorney's Office, Vanatta said the police department is conducting an internal investigation.
"We will do our own internal investigation for policy and procedure violations that is separate from the criminal investigation," Vanatta said. "When you suspend someone, particularly from a patrol standpoint, it creates scheduling issues. I want to get our internal investigation completed as quickly as possible because I frankly don't like suspending people with pay any longer than is necessary."
Schmedeke's ability to return to the department also hangs on the outcome of any potential court proceedings.
"It kind of depends on what the DA's office decides to do," Vanatta aid. "If they file criminal charges, it's going to depend on what the charge is. Hopefully they will have a resolution on what they are going to do fairly quickly."
Jon Pfeifer, chief deputy district attorney in the Moffat County office, said his office has the warrant-less arrest affidavit, but had not received official reports from the sheriff's office as of Tuesday afternoon.
The decision on whether to file formal criminal charges in Moffat County Court will be made before Schmedeke's first court appearance, slated for 8:30 a.m. Dec. 6 before Judge Sandra Gardner, Pfeifer said.
Police officials said Monday that police officers were first on the scene when the domestic violence call came in Sunday night.
Once police officers identified who was involved, it was decided to bring in sheriff's deputies to conduct an impartial investigation.
"That is specifically why we called in an independent agency to do the investigation and why we have also asked the district attorney's office to assist with the investigation," Vanatta said.
Sheriff's deputy Clay Caldwell conducted an on-scene investigation Sunday night in which the victim alleged said she had been harassed throughout the course of the night.
Caldwell determined there was enough probable cause to arrest Schmedeke on suspicion of harassment and domestic violence.
Moffat County Sheriff Tim Jantz said suspicion of domestic violence was added given Schmedeke's relationship with the alleged victim.
"A classic misnomer with domestic violence charges is that something physical transpired during the course of the incident," Jantz said. "That's not always the case."
Jantz refrained from further comment until the district attorney's office decides whether to file formal charges.
"There's no cover up going on," Jantz said. "There are a lot more legal avenues we need to pay attention to when an officer is involved and we're just trying to be careful to get it right."