Sergeant demoted after domestic incident
- Mara Stine
- Gresham Outlook - News
Michael Schmitt was charged with attempted fourth-degree assault
An 18-year Gresham Police Department veteran has been demoted from sergeant to officer following an internal affairs investigation into allegations of harassment and attempted domestic violence assault.
Officer Michael Schmitt, 47, returned to work Wednesday, June 14. He's been on paid administrative leave since Tuesday, Feb. 28, pending a criminal investigation, as well as a department internal affairs investigation.
Schmitt was charged with attempted fourth-degree assault and harassment for a Feb. 26 incident involving his wife at their Gresham home.
After finding out about the alleged criminal conduct, Gresham Police Department Chief Carla Piluso asked the Portland Police Bureau to investigate as a safeguard against any appearance of a conflict of interest.
On April 19, Schmitt pleaded no contest to harassment before Multnomah County Circuit Court Judge Nan G. Waller, said Amy Holmes Hehn, Senior Deputy District Attorney of the domestic violence unit.
Harassment is defined as subjecting someone to offensive physical contact. The attempted assault charge was dismissed.
Because Schmitt is a first-time misdemeanor offender, he qualified for a domestic violence deferred sentencing program. The program - open to all first-time misdemeanor offenders with no criminal history, not just police officers - requires Schmitt to meet regularly with representatives from the Multnomah County Department of Community Justice's domestic violence unit and to successfully undergo alcohol-abuse treatment, as alcohol played a role in the offense, Holmes Hehn said.
If Schmitt successfully completes the nine-month program, his entire case will be dismissed - meaning he'll have no criminal record.
The Gresham Police Department completed its internal affairs investigation May 9. Capt. Tim Gerkman said any disciplinary action stemming from the investigation couldn't be discussed.
However, Schmitt was a sergeant when he was placed on paid administrative leave in February but has returned as a police officer.
The move from sergeant with a $71,136 salary to police officer with a $57,816 salary equals a 19-percent pay reduction. An estimated $20,499 in Gresham tax dollars were spent on his paid leave during the investigation, according to public records.
Gerkman said Schmitt's got no special treatment as a police officer.
'When allegations like this are made of our own members we take them seriously,' Gerkman said. 'They're looked into just like they'd be with any citizen. Police officers are held accountable for their actions.'
Detective Jim Paddock, Gresham Police Officer Association President, said police officers are actually held to a much higher standard than other citizens.
'We welcome Mike back,' Paddock said.
Schmitt declined to comment on the case.