Ex-Oakwood police chief arrested in Wisconsin

Facebook tip led to child porn charges for former Oakwood chief

The investigation that led to child pornography charges against former Oakwood public safety director Alex Bebris started with a tip from Facebook, according to the criminal complaint in federal court.

Court records say Facebook submitted two cyber tips in September to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children that one of its users had sent images of child pornography via its messenger system to another Facebook user.

The tips were passed along to the Wisconsin Internet Crimes Against Children Taskforce, which tracked the IP address to Bebris’ home in Neenah, Wisconsin.

FIRST REPORT: Ex-Oakwood public safety director arrested on 10 child porn charges

The Winnebago County Sheriff’s Office was contacted Dec. 13 and obtained a search warrant for Bebris’ apartment, where he lives alone, and deputies seized a Dell computer from his bedroom, court records say. The computer hard drive was analyzed and another 89 “files of interest” were allegedly found.

Descriptions of the images in the court files include boys and girls appearing to range in age from 1 to 10, some engaged in sexual activity.

RELATED: Oakwood says no reason to believe accused ex-chief did anything wrong here

Bebris was arrested by Wisconsin police but is now facing federal charges of possession and distribution of child pornography. He has a hearing scheduled for Jan. 2 in federal court in Green Bay, Wisconsin. His appointed public defender did not return a call seeking comment.

11 years in Oakwood

Bebris, 49, had an unblemished 11-year stint as the head of Oakwood’s police and fire departments, according to his personnel records obtained by the Dayton Daily News. He was paid $107,688 in 2017, according to a Dayton Daily News searchable database of public employee pay.

I-Team Payroll Project: Oakwood’s highest-paid employees in 2017

Oakwood officials say there is no evidence Bebris was involved in any wrongdoing while here. He was replaced by current chief Alan Hill.

Since he left Oakwood in November 2017 “to pursue a new career,” according to city officials, he has been turned down for a job after failing a background check, and overwhelmingly lost a bid to become sheriff of a Wisconsin County.

In February, he accepted an offer to be the police chief of Hortonville, a village in Wisconsin with a population of less than 3,000. He listed his job at the time as owner of a public safety consulting firm called Public Safety Strategies Inc.

Failed background check

But before he started the job, Hortonville had a background check conducted by Diversified Investigations of Appleton, Wisconsin.

“When they did his background check, essentially why he was disqualified was his dates of employment were questionable,” said village administrator David DeTroye.

The failed background check included several reasons for concern, according to Diversified Investigations, surrounding his employment with the Milwaukee Police Department. Bebris’ Oakwood personnel file includes information from his time in Milwaukee, showing he resigned during an internal investigation. No description of the investigation is given other than the term “F/T APPEAR”.

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Diversified Investigations also noted Bebris left both the Town of Menasha (now Fox Crossing) Police Department and the Adams County Sheriff’s Office under separation agreements, according to the background check.

The background check found that Bebris signed a letter of resignation with stipulated terms with Oakwood after allegedly telling Hortonville that he retired from Oakwood. Village officials also found Bebris applied for numerous police jobs in several states while working in Oakwood.

The terms of his departure from Oakwood were signed in August and took effect in November. They included a stipulation that Oakwood “will respond to any and all reference requests from prospective employers by providing a positive assessment of your work while in the employment of Oakwood.”

After the background check, Hortonville withdrew the job offer. On March 7, the morning after the village’s retraction, Bebris withdrew from consideration for the job.

Failed run for sheriff

Bebris then filed to run in the Republican primary to become sheriff of Outagamie County, Wisconsin (population 186,059). There were three Republican candidates, and no Democratic candidate, ensuring victory for whomever won the GOP race.

But the race was a blowout, with former NFL linebacker Clint Kriewaldt getting nearly 74 percent of the vote in August.

Bebris’ campaign website describes him as “a respected leader not only within the agencies and communities he serves, but also among his peers.”

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