Former officer's arrest impacts La Crosse Police Department - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Former officer's arrest impacts La Crosse Police Department

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LA CROSSE, Wisconsin (WXOW)-- Brian Thomson was a lieutenant with the La Crosse Police Department but resigned his post following his arrest. Few details of the investigation have been released, but Thomson is facing drug related charges.

La Crosse Police Chief Ron Tischer says an incident like this impacts morale at the department and potentially public perception, because it violates the ethical standards of the department.

Rick Kyte, the Director of the Ethics Institute at Viterbo University says ethics are a vital part of any profession, but especially for police where public trust is so crucial. Since officers enforce the laws, they are held to an even higher moral and ethical standard.

Tischer says his department will grow from this and Kyte agrees.

"What good comes out of it is mainly other police officers talk to one another, and they say what happened, how did this happen? How can we prevent it from happening again?" Kyte said.

Kyte says that's really the best kind of ethics training: discussion of real situations, rather than reading rules and lecturing. He also says it's important to remember more attention is always given to ethics violations in any profession, which doesn't give you an accurate picture of any group as a whole. This particular case only involves a single officer.

In order to maintain the ethical standards of the department, Tischer says turning the case over to the Wisconsin Department of Criminal Investigation was crucial.

"It's one of those things where we hold ourselves accountable for the actions of our officers," Tischer said. "So we heard something was going on, we started an initial investigation and once we kinda came upon the magnitude or the direction it was headed, we immediately stopped and asked for DCI's help because we knew it was going to be a criminal investigation from here on out."

Thomson is due in court again August 30, where formal charges are expected.

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