Officer Brandon Hanley seen at center is awarded the Edward J. Ormsby Law and Order award presented by the Lake Mills American Legion. Seen from left are Jamie Zins, post commander; Officer Hanley and John Wineke, sergeant at arms.

The Lake Mills American Legion recently awarded Lake Mills Police Officer Brandon Hanley as Officer of the Year.

In his nomination letter written by Lake Mills Police Chief Mick Selck states:

“In late December of 2019, up until March of 2020, LMPD had received several complaints of vehicle break-ins where numerous items were stolen from multiple vehicles. After exhausting all leads and follow up, the theft cases went cold. However, Officer Hanley had suspicion on who the true culprit was.

Fast forward to May of 2020, Officer Hanley received a complaint of damage to property in the City of Lake Mills where the victim reported all four of their tires had been slashed. As Officer Hanley completed his investigation into this matter, he received credible information that the suspect that was responsible for the tire slashing was also the likely suspect in the multiple thefts from vehicles dating back to 2019. Additionally, the same person was believed to be distributing illegal drugs throughout the city of Lake Mills and the public high school.

With no evidence to prove that the suspect was involved, Officer Hanley took it upon himself to end the illegal activity of this one-man crime wave by starting from ground zero and formalizing a plan to end this individual’s criminal activity.

After months of surveillance, building credible information from the confidential informants, working with the Jefferson County Drug Task Force, taking calls on and off duty from CI’s and other investigative measures, Officer Hanley was able to conduct a successful search warrant on the residence of the suspect in question. Officer Hanley was able to accomplish all of this even though he was still tasked with normal daily patrol activities and complaint handling.

Upon completion of that search warrant, Officer Hanley was able to seize numerous illegal drugs to include; marijuana, prescription pills, marijuana dabs and a small offsite marijuana grow. Although the bust was a successful one, Officer Hanley did not stop there and went above and beyond knowing that if he dug a little further many cold cases could be solved.

Officer Hanley continued to look into the matter and after completing numerous cell phone extractions, processing evidence to include pictures, chat conversations, GPS locations and interviews, Officer Hanley was finally able to bring justice to numerous unfounded cases that had occurred in the City of Lake Mills over the past six months. In total, Officer Hanley brought forward approximately 46 criminal charges against the suspect and one criminal charge against another person. This is most cases resolved in one investigation that I have seen in my career with the Lake Mills Police Department.

These charges included:

— Eight counts of theft from a vehicle dating back from December 2019 (also assisting other agencies with their vehicle break-ins.)

— Possession and distribution of illegal narcotics.

— Criminal damage to property.

— Numerous counts of felony bail jumping.

— Possession of stolen property to include a firearm.

— Possession of Child Pornography.

— Sexual Assault of a Child.

— Neglect of a Child.

Through Officer Hanley’s investigation he was also able to obtain a confession from the suspect admitting to a burglary that occurred earlier in the year of 2020 where the suspect broke into the residence of another stealing illegal narcotics. Officer Hanley was also able to stop this suspect, as he was a main distributer of illegal narcotics to our public-school system

Because of Officer Hanley’s will to hold those accountable for their actions, numerous victims were able to have the closure they deserved.

Although great investigations like this occur throughout Jefferson County, what makes this stand out beyond others is Officer Hanley’s success rate with the minimal amount of job experience he has. Officer Hanley has been working for the Lake Mills Police Department since January of 2019 with only four months of prior law enforcement experience from another agency. Most officers with his experience and knowledge have not tackled a case this in-depth until they have numerous years under their belt.

But it does not stop here. In August 2020, Officer Hanley became aware of a meth house in our city. He became the point of contact for a confidential informant and through months of follow-up (on and off duty) and working with the Drug Task Force, he and the Task Force were able to obtain enough information to get a search warrant and get into that house. During that 3+ month investigation a total of five different people were arrested and referred for a total of six felonies and one misdemeanor. Beyond these two cases, Officer Hanley is a leading officer in patrol traffic stops which frequently turn into drug arrests through his ability to look beyond the simple traffic violation.

Officer Hanley has taken it upon himself to learn all aspects of the job by doing his own in-house training whether that’s reviewing and reading law enforcement investigation books, listening to podcasts put out there by seasoned investigators, or simply getting his hands dirty and jumping right into an investigation and not stopping until answers are found. Officer Hanley has proven to the Lake Mills Police Department and the Lake Mills community that he has the skill set of a productive Law Enforcement investigator no matter how much experience he has or does not have. Officer Hanley has shown this with his success in 2019 when being awarded Jefferson County Officer of the Year (nominated by Chief Deputy Parker and Sgt. Ole Olson) for his involvement regarding another multi-faceted drug bust and police pursuit in which Officer Hanley went above and beyond.

Because of Officer Hanley’s dedication, professional work, and willingness to hold those accountable for their actions, I respectfully nominate Officer Hanley for the Edward J. Ormsby Law and Order Award presented by American Legion Post 67.”

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