WSU Police Chief ‘relieved’ of duties
After former Wright State police chief Michael Martinsen sent two letters to the media telling his side of the story, and his subsequent termination by WSU, many questions remain about the nature of the allegations against him.
The controversy began on Friday, Sept. 6, when it was announced that Martinsen had been placed on administrative leave, pending an internal investigation into informal allegations against the former chief.
According to Vice President of Communications and Marketing George Heddleston, the initial allegations against Martinsen were sexual harassment, creation of a hostile work environment, retaliation against complainants, and misuse of the university’s credit card. The accusations of sexual harassment were later dropped.
“The two complainants have advised the university that they will not proceed with the university’s Affirmative Action Complaint Procedure,” Heddleston said. “The university will continue to investigate the other allegations of hostile work environment, retaliation, and misuse of the university’s credit card.”
Martinsen claimed he was not given a chance to defend himself against the informal allegations.
“I have not been interviewed or even contacted by the investigator or provided with a complaint to respond to verbally or in writing,” Martinsen said. “I was simply placed on leave, asked to turn in my gun and badge, and sent home without a written complaint of the accuser’s allegations.”
In his second statement to the media, Martinsen made a connection between his disciplinary actions against a female employee and subsequent allegations made against him by friends of the disciplined employee.
“Sometime after [the employee] behaved in a turbulent and unprofessional manner in the police department hallway, I called her by phone and placed her on paid administrative leave,” Martinsen said. “Approximately two days later, the other two female employees allegedly filed informal verbal complaints against me.”
On Monday, Sept. 16, WSU announced that Martinsen would be kept on administrative leave for six months, at which point he would be “relieved of his duties.”
Sophomore English major Juli Poling questioned the decision to continue paying Martinsen while he was under investigation.
“I think it’s a poor use of university resources to continue paying someone who is being investigated for serious allegations,” Poling said. “If he was shown to be innocent, then he could be reimbursed, but he shouldn’t be paid while he isn’t working.”
“I enjoyed my time serving the University and will begin a search for a new opportunity,” Martinsen said.