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Commission Votes To Appeal Reinstatement of Fired Cops

May 10, 1994

MILWAUKEE (AP) _ A city agency will appeal a judge’s decision reinstating two police officers fired in 1991 for returning a naked, dazed 14-year-old boy to serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer.

Reserve Judge Robert Parins ruled last month that the firings were too severe a punishment and that former Officers John Balcerzak and Joseph Gabrish should be reinstated, with back pay of about $55,000 each.

The Fire and Police Commission voted 4-1 Monday to appeal.

Commission chairman Nicol Padway said if the panel failed to act, it would allow the courts to set the standard of conduct for police officers.

Balcerzak and Gabrish were fired for failing to follow police procedures when they were sent to investigate the case of a naked, dazed, bleeding Laotian youth wandering in an alley in May 1991.

Reports show Dahmer convinced them the 14-year-old was his adult homosexual lover and had too much to drink. The officers returned the boy to Dahmer’s apartment.

When Dahmer was arrested two months later, he told authorities he killed the boy soon after the officers left.

Dahmer, 33, is serving 16 consecutive life prison terms.

Gabrish now is a police officer in Grafton, and Balcerzak owns a tavern.

Activist Bernell Ross said the commission’s decision was a signal of respect for minorities. Most of Dahmer’s victims were black. He led a march earlier Monday outside police headquarters.

Police Association president Bradley DeBraska called the commission’s decision ″gutless,″ saying it had given in to public pressure.

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