Former Melrose chief files suit

By Sharna Johnson: CNJ staff writer

Former Melrose Police Chief Mike Trammell has filed a district court lawsuit against the village, its mayor and state police for damages he claims are related to the loss of his position.

According to a 14-page complaint filed Monday in the 9th Judicial District Court, Trammell alleges he was not given due process by his employer and was forced to resign when he was charged with animal cruelty in 2006. He also alleges the state police investigation was improperly conducted.

Melrose Mayor Lance Pyle and Department of Public Safety Communications Director Peter Olson declined to comment on the lawsuit.

Trammell states in the complaint he was suspended from his position in October 2006 when he was charged with animal cruelty and was then issued a letter of intent to terminate by the village.

According to the complaint, the letter left him with, “No other choice but to resign his employment after six years of dedicated service.”

The 38-year-old former chief asserts that in accordance with village employee rules and regulations, he should have been afforded a pre-determination hearing, the complaint said.

Trammell also alleges malicious abuse of process by state police whom he said disregarded evidence that supported his innocence, the complaint said.

In June 2007, a jury acquitted Trammell of one charge of animal cruelty and six remaining cases were dismissed by prosecutors.

Allegations of animal abuse surfaced in August 2006 when a Wisconsin family visiting Melrose lodged a complaint against Trammell for shooting their dog.

Trammell stated in an incident report that he believed the animal to be injured and malnourished.

Trammell is seeking unspecified damages for lost wages, lost career opportunities, lost benefits plus interest and compensation for “extensive emotional and psychological trauma” and other damages allowed by law, the complaint said.