Former Mitchell officer's police certification revokedA former Mitchell Department of Public Safety officer had his police certification revoked because of an incident involving alcohol, firearms and his alleged attempt to cover it up. Mark Gruhlke’s police certification was permanently revoked by the state Law Enforcement Standards and Training Commission this month.
By: Austin Kaus, The Daily Republic
A former Mitchell Department of Public Safety officer had his police certification revoked because of an incident involving alcohol, firearms and his alleged attempt to cover it up.
Mark Gruhlke’s police certification was permanently revoked by the state Law Enforcement Standards and Training Commission this month.
Reports from the commission say Gruhlke drove under the influence of alcohol on April 21. Documents state he discharged his .223-caliber AR15 from the front passenger window of his pickup at a road sign after consuming alcoholic beverages. The documents do not say where the incident happened.
On the same day, reports say, he allowed Sarina Waterman, an officer with the Centerville Police Department, to twice fire the weapon at a road sign. When Waterman fired from the passenger window, she hit Gruhlke’s passenger-side mirror.
Officer Keith Munro of the Tea Police Department was also listed as driving the vehicle after having consumed alcoholic beverages.
Documents state Gruhlke lied about the incidents to both Maj. Leon Baier of the Mitchell Department of Public Safety and Guy Di Benedetto of the South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation.
Gruhlke reportedly told Baier on June 24 that the signs he and others fired on were “old signs of Sarina Waterman’s that they had set up in the road ditch.”
That same day, Gruhlke reportedly told Di Benedetto he did not shoot at any road signs. On June 30, Gruhlke reportedly misled Di Benedetto by telling the investigator that the rifle was fired at only one location. He also failed to tell Di Benedetto about his or Waterman’s discharge of the AR15.
Gruhlke also interfered with an official investigation, the reports said, by texting Waterman “No, but I said it happened in iowa. If they ask u … and we were shooting at old signs that we had set up not new ones on the road.”
City records show Gruhlke was dismissed from the department on July 9. He had been an officer in Mitchell since May 7, 2007.
Officer Brandon Braun was also dismissed on July 9. His name is not included in the state Law Enforcement Standards and Training Commission reports about Gruhlke. Mitchell Public Safety Chief Lyndon Overweg declined to comment on either former officer.
Braun had been employed by the Mitchell Department of Public Safety since Sept. 26, 2005.
Munro also had his certification permanently revoked. Documents say he gave false information to Di Benedetto by saying he did not see either Gruhlke or Waterman fire the gun.
A representative from the Tea Police Department said Munro is no longer employed at the department.
Waterman is currently suspended from the Centerville Police Department.
Tea City Council minutes show Waterman was employed with the Tea Police Department until her resignation on June 15, 2009. Her certification was suspended by the state commission for six months.