Police investigate CEO's story
As the legendary Ricky Ricardo used to say, when John Jazwiec gets back from his trip to London in a couple of weeks, he's going to have "a whole lot of 'splainin' to do."
Jazwiec, who is the president of RedPrairie Corp. in the Town of Brookfield, lives with his family on Milwaukee's East Side.
The Milwaukee Police Department has launched an investigation after ... well, rather than try to describe it, I'm just going to paste here the text of an e-mail Jazwiec allegedly sent to many residents in his neighborhood and to Mayor Tom Barrett. The subject line of the e-mail that police are investigating says, "Taking Action," and the e-mail says it was sent from Jazwiec. Here's the text of the e-mail, dated Monday, Oct. 1:
"I am the resident that had an armed man walk in my house with a police badge. He held the my family (wife, myself, and two young daughters) hostage. We did not have any cash and had recently lost our debit cards. So I bargained with him to take computers and iphones to pawn. He left and thankfully we are safe. Because we were not sure it was not an inside job we did not dare go to police headquarters. The 3100 block of Marietta is not taking this standing down. We met Friday and agreed that we can't trust the mayor or the police. We instead are going to hire a private agency to walk our block. We will also be prominently showing signs on the block what we are doing it in lieu of a demanding a rebate on our taxes which by the way are going up 3.3%. Talk is cheap. This will get in the press I promise you. And our block is one that lazy criminals will just avoid. Anyone else want to 'outsource' beat control? Next step -- the de-annexation process and our large per capita tax revenues which we can then use to fund police, schools, and real paved roads.
President of Redprairie"
Rumors of the bizarre alleged incident spread throughout the East Side and eventually to the Milwaukee Police Department.
"We did try repeatedly to investigate. But he (Jazwiec) wouldn't cooperate," said Anne E. Schwartz, spokeswoman for the police department.
Jazwiec finally officially reported the incident to police by phone Tuesday, but then left town on his trip overseas, Schwartz said. Police plan to question him in depth when he returns, she said.
Concerns in the neighborhood prompted Milwaukee Ald. Michael D'Amato to send his own e-mail to his constituents. D'Amato chastised Jazwiec for not cooperating with police. Here's text from D'Amato's e-mail:
"There are serious questions as to the veracity of this report at this point. Apparently this gentleman (Jazwiec) was far more interested in contacting the press than he was the MPD. Crime is a serious concern to us all and is something the MPD, the Mayor and I take very seriously. While there has been an uptick in crime in our neighborhood over the past several months, the police have reacted with an increased presence and have made a number of arrests. Despite these incidents OUR NEIGHBORHOOD IS SAFE. DO NOT be afraid to walk outdoors and encourage others to join you. DO NOT lock yourselves in your home and call police immediately if you see something suspicious. Like you, I live in this neighborhood with my spouse and children. I will continue to walk the streets, bike to the store and enjoy the company of my friends on my porch. I'll also lock my door and warn my children to beware of strangers. Do not allow a single man with a remarkable story convince you that this is not a great, safe and united neighborhood."
Schwartz issued the following e-mail to concerned residents:
"Milwaukee Police have no evidence that an incident described by a resident in the 3100 block of N. Marietta has occurred. The resident has refused multiple attempts by Milwaukee Police to investigate the incident he is alleging. Milwaukee Police have attempted to contact this resident through his business, by telephone and by appearing in person at his residence as recently as today, October 2, 2007. Milwaukee Police can not investigate an incident that has not been reported to us. If residents in the area have safety concerns, they are encouraged to contact District 5 Community Liaison Officer Ray Robakowski (935-7258) or District 5 Captain Tony Smith (935-7250). Officer Robakowski can assist with the formation of a block watch and can provide information on any criminal activity that has been reported to police. The Milwaukee Police Department appreciates that we all want to live in safe neighborhoods and we commend the residents of this East Side neighborhood in their concern for each other. We also want to assure these residents that if a crime trend is developing in any particular neighborhood, we will provide them that information at the District community meetings."
A spokeswoman for RedPrairie said she could not comment on the incident. She said Jazwiec had departed for London Tuesday and was not available to comment.
In the past, Jazwiec has complained about the state's business climate and government. He first spoke voiced his criticisms as a keynote CEO panelist at the Northern Trust Economic Trends Breakfast in January 2006. To view a Web cast of that speech, visit www.biztimes.com/site/videos/sbtimes_et/jazwiec
I'll have to disagree that those with means are lining up to leave Milwaukee. If anything, I see increasing numbers of people with healthy incomes moving back into the city. In the eastside neighborhoods that my wife and I are thinking of moving into, we can hardly find a home for sale - even in this crazy market. People love it there and are sticking around for a long time. As an aside, my sister and brother-in-law visited from out of town this weekend. They haven't lived in the Milwaukee area for about 30 years. We took them downtown for dinner and they both marveled at how busy, inviting and clean our downtown looks compared to decades ago when they lived here. Sometimes we forget how far we've come. If this particular CEO wants to leave Milwaukee, he can go with my blessings. I don't believe there will be a problem filling his home with another affluent couple.
Tosa, no one is arguing about whether or not Jazwiec should have called the police. Even Jazwiec has admitted this publicly. It's a straw man. You wrote that anyone who "believed anything this [crackpot] says" is "naive." In other words: he's crazy and he's a pathologic liar. Tosa, unless you're his doctor and/or know him very well, how could know this? You obviously don't know but that didn't stop you for handing out cheap smears. Your post doesn't belong in a reasoned discussion between reasonable people.
It doesnt take "psychic powers" to realize that if someone is held hostage at gunpoint that they would/should call the police. If e mailing the mayor, ranting to your neighbors and leaving the country isnt acting like a crackpot, your reality is far different than mine. I only have a bias against people who say one thing and do another.
Jazwiec has admitted openly that not calling the police was a mistake on his part. I'd go one step further: it's at least poor judgment and could be a crime itself under certain circumstances. He has a CEO mindset and, annoying as it is sometimes, he will attempt the shortest, most effective route to accomplish his goals. Attempting to gain special treatment in this instance is itself a display of remarkably bad judgment. All of this said, the MPD is not very effective and that is, in part, the driver of his actions. This is not the fault of the rank-and-file officers. My father-in-law spent 30+ years with the force and my brother-in-law continues to serve. Even they will admit that things are screwed up though the causes extend well beyond MPD. I'm not referring to the Jude incident, which was bad enough, merely to day-to-day stats on response times, the ever-climbing number of unsolved cases, etc. My original point stands: the city benefits from having rich people living within its borders. They pay a lot in taxes and their vested interest as homeowners helps focus their often formidable financial, political and entrepreneurial power to the benefit of the city at large. You may think this guy is a jerk but, I'm telling you, his views are shared by a growing number of neighborhood residents of similar means. Keep these people safe or they may walk. Remember, they can take their money anywhere they want.
Based on everything I've read about John Jazwiec, which were several online articles, he sounds like a quirky, intelligent, determined, individual who has strong opinions about Milwaukee and Wisconsin. He also sounds like a businessman who understands the importance of making both MKE and Wisconsin, bigger players in the global marketplace. Obviously you can only learn so much about a person reading an online article but quirks and all, he sounds like a fairly typical businessman. Now, with all that said, it amazes me that someone who seems fairly intelligent and determined would not have called the police after being held hostage. Emailing your neighbors instead of calling the police is just plain stupid and furthermore, if there is some idiot out there disguised as a policeman, isn't it his civic duty to inform the police, who then inform the media so they can inform the rest of us? Jazwiec was obviously trying to make a point, what that point was is still beyond me. But I think the important thing to mention is calling the police is the smart, right thing to do. Email your neighbors afterwards. As far as some of the comments being made about the MPD, I think the police force has come a long way in trying to clean up it's image. It doesn't help when you have rogue cops on the streets, like the 3 idiots in the Jude case, but obviously every cop is not some racist, immature individual. It also doesn't help when you have people who refuse to obey laws and then cry police brutality or alledge racisim when they're caught. I think it's important that we support the police and be thankful for the improvements made. Furthermore, the police force can only be as effective as it's citizens. I always go back to parenting because like it or not, as a parent, I know it's my responsibility to raise a responsible child. If parents would simply realize that, imagine how much money could be diverted to other much needed city improvements.
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