It's time for Furseth to move on
As a 15-year resident of DeForest, I commend the uncomfortable decision by the four members of our village board who voted to file a complaint motion against Police Chief Dan Furseth. Furseth was correct to hand in his resignation, originally, and could have accepted the generous severance package offered by our village. Instead, because he rescinded his resignation and is now fighting the complaint voted for by a majority of our village board, the taxpayers of DeForest will have to pay for a lengthy, expensive legal battle.
As alleged in the board's complaint, Furseth has demonstrated a pattern of behaviors that have targeted and exploited people, some of them in their most vulnerable moments. As an officer, he racially stereotyped a group of black teenagers. As police chief, he shared video evidence of a woman who had just been shot in the head during a domestic dispute, and posted to Facebook a video of a naked man who was in a mental health crisis. By reportedly playing a game called Subaru Poker that mocks gay women, Furseth condones and perpetuates intolerance. He also undermined the concerns of male and female coworkers regarding sexual harassment within the department. All of it is reprehensible.
Our village board has helped to build an appealing community for both current and future residents. People who come from all over the world to accept jobs at Dane County businesses should be made to feel welcome to buy homes and to frequent businesses here. If we want continued growth and an increased tax base that brings amenities for all of us to enjoy, Furseth is a liability.
By exploiting and humiliating residents and dismissing the concerns of his own staff, Furseth has shown that he lacks the mature judgment required of a leader to ensure all of our residents are safe and feel safe. To allow the level of intolerance and insensitivity demonstrated by him and his supporters to persevere any longer defines our village and limits our future.
Dan Furseth isn't a bad man. He's done some charitable things locally and served well enough as a police officer. He isn't capable, however, in making consistent, level-headed decisions as chief of a police department. It's time for him to move on. DeForest deserves better.