Dozens of people came to the Crystal City Council meeting on Monday night in support of two police officers who have been on leave since last fall without being told why by the department.
Officer Alan Watt and Sgt. Rob Erkenbrack, a 17-year veteran and 27-year veteran respectively, believe they were taken off the job because they started asking too many questions about cover-ups and conduct within the department. Neither officer showed up at the rally prior to the meeting, but their supporters certainly did.
Answers from the Crystal Police Department continue to be elusive, and it's still unknown why the officers were placed on paid leave or when they may come back.
Supporters of Watt and Erkenbrack came armed with allegations and questions because both officers have now been at home on paid leave for almost a year.
Officer Erkenbrack's wife, Linda, and other family members say he is in good spirits, but they know he wants to be back on the force. Meanwhile, Watt's girlfriend said he is struggling to raise his three daughters as a single father because he is not allowed to work another job while on leave.
Crystal Police Chief Stephanie Revering declined an on-camera interview request with FOX 9 News, but she released a statement saying the department is still in the process of investigating the officers.
Recently, Communities United Against Police Brutality helped the officers file complaints with the city of Crystal which allege corruption and retaliation against whistleblowers within the department's leadership.
"We have this on tape, that if he would not accept a retirement, that they would find things to charge him with," Michelle Gross, president of CUAPB, said.
In the complaint written by Erkenbrack, he claimed the chief targeted him for being a whistleblower who asked why the department did not investigate after items in a home went missing during a 2008 drug raid.
In his own letter, Officer Watt made similar claims and both officers allege a culture of cover-ups within the department and bad behavior by the chief.
Revering told FOX 9 News outside investigations cleared her department of wrongdoing in the 2008 drug raid, and she said the investigations into Watt and Erkenbrack are necessary despite being time consuming and expensive.
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