John Balcerzak is a police officer in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and president of the Milwaukee Police Association. In 1991, he was fired for having handed over an injured victim to serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer, despite the victim’s protests.
Balcerzak and his partner Joseph Gabrish discovered the victim, 14-year-old Konerak Sinthasomphone, after he had managed to escape from Dahmer’s apartment. Though the Laotian immigrant had been in the country for ten years and spoke English fluently, in his drugged and brain-injured state, Konerak was unable to communicate his situation to authorities. Dahmer found the boy with the police and convinced them that the boy was his 19-year-old lover. Two African-American women, Sandra Smith and Nicole Childress, were convinced that Sinthasomphone’s life was in peril and tried to save the boy. However, Balcerzak and his partner chose to believe Dahmer and allowed him to keep Sinthasomphone. Dahmer later sexually abused, killed, and dismembered the boy.
Balcerzak and Gabrish were terminated from the Milwaukee Police Department after their actions were widely publicized, including an audiotape of the officers making homophobic statements to their dispatcher and cracking jokes about having reunited the “lovers”. The officers had never checked the boy’s ID because they said he appeared to be 19 years old. The officers did not check Dahmer’s identification; had they done so, they would have discovered that Dahmer was a sex offender previously convicted for molesting Sinthasomphone’s older brother.
Both officers later appealed their termination, won, and were reinstated with back pay. Balcerzak and Gabrish were named “officers of the year” by their local union, the Milwaukee Police Association, for fighting a “righteous” battle to regain their jobs.
In May 2005, Balcerzak was elected president of the Milwaukee Police Association, defeating Sebastian Raclaw by a vote of 521 to 453. As president, he has been criticized for failing to protect officers from mandatory overtime and not supporting African-American officer Alfonzo Glover, who was charged with homicide and later committed suicide. By June 2006, the union vice president had resigned because of disagreements with Balcerzak’s “style of leadership.” A petition to remove Balcerzak was filed and a recall election was held in August 2006. The results were 213 for a recall and 397 to retain him.
To review: known sex offender rapes boy. Cop makes gay jokes, hands back boy to rapist. Rapist murders boy. Cop gets elected head of Police Association. Cop is still head of Police Association today.