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City: Jim Wetzel No Longer Serving as Police Chief

Jim Wetzel will no longer be serving as Police Chief, effective immediately.

Facebook, Casper Police Department

As this is a breaking story, this post will change as more information becomes available

The City of Casper has sent the following announcement to media.  We’ll bring you more when details become available.

Interim City Manager, Liz Becher, announced today that the City of Casper has decided to go in a new direction in the leadership of the Casper Police Department and that Police Chief Jim Wetzel will no longer be serving in that role, effective immediately. Captain Steve Schulz has been appointed as the Interim Police Chief.

UPDATE (5/5/17 4:12 PM): Oil City reached Councilperson Amanda Huckabay for comment early Friday evening.  “Liz decided to take the police department in a different direction. But I will say that since becoming the interim city manager, she has done due diligence in getting to the bottom of this matter.”

UPDATE (5/5/17 4:35): Casper’s Vice Mayor Ray Pacheco was reached by phone but declined to comment.

The dismissal of Wetzel from the department is the latest development in what has been a rocky month for city leadership.

During a regular meeting for the city leaders on April 4th, Mayor Kenyne Humphrey presented council with a survey conducted by the Fraternal Order of Police, raising concern among former and current CPD employees over the management and morale at the department. The survey itself came amid a time when members of the public had voiced criticism of the department, alleging the department had mishandled sexual assault investigations.

In the weeks since, criticism has been leveled at the Mayor, at the Police Chief, at the City Council, and at the media over how the situation was being handled.  Sometimes the criticism coming from the council itself.  During a council work session, a dust up occurred between Police Chief Jim Wetzel and Councilperson Amanda Huckabay. Huckabay making note that when the two were asked to be grouped together for an activity, Wetzel left the meeting. In an e-mail to Oil City news, Wetzel responded to the claims by saying he did not know the nature of the meeting and was unaware that he was to participate in the planning and setting of goals at the meeting.

At a recent council meeting, city leaders approved a contract for $63,000, for an independent comprehensive analysis of the police department, scheduled to be completed in September. During the most recent city council regular session, citizens were told that an internal investigation was being carried out as well.