The Northwestern

May 16, 2002

Oshkosh police won’t force officer to quit post at DA’s office 


Oshkosh Police Chief David Erickson said Wednesday that a special duty police officer asked to resign from the Winnebago County District Attorney’s Office has his blessing to remain there. 

District Attorney Joseph F. Paulus asked Oshkosh police officer Jim Curtis to resign his position as a domestic abuse investigator Tuesday and return to normal duties at the Oshkosh Police Department. Curtis was asked to leave the position the same day Paulus fired assistant district attorney Edmund Jelinski. 

Jelinski announced his bid to run for the district attorney’s office in the September primary. Assistant District Attorney Thomas Chalchoff, Jelinski’s campaign manager, was also fired. Curtis, a member of Jelinski’s campaign committee, said on Tuesday that he had no plans to step down from the position despite Paulus’ request. 

Paulus accused Jelinski of fueling reports of office corruption that surfaced Friday. 

Erickson said he gave Curtis the choice to remain at the district attorney’s office or come back to the first shift at the department. Erickson told Paulus that the department wouldn’t pull Curtis back without his consent. 

"We’re not removing him, and he said that he wanted to stay," Erickson said. 

Curtis could not be reached for comment Wednesday despite several phone calls and a reporter’s visit to his home. 
The district attorney’s office shakeup followed a weekend of speculation over money or favors being used to reduce drunken driving charges and sentences. Two cases in 1999 –– one involving an Oshkosh woman and another, a Ripon man –– were mentioned specifically. 

Jelinski this week admitted to conducting his own personal investigation into rumors of wrongdoing by Paulus and other attorneys. He said the FBI is conducting an investigation. 

A Tuesday termination letter signed by Paulus stated that Jelinski "endangered my working relationship with the public and the courts." Paulus said he consulted with the Wisconsin Department of Justice before making his firing decisions. A Wednesday statement from the justice department states that Paulus made the decision alone. 

Erickson said his conversation with Paulus on Wednesday was brief. 

"I told him (Curtis) was staying at the office, and that was pretty much it," Erickson said. 

Jim Collar: (920) 426-6676 or 

John Maloney
Police/Prosecutor Misconduct