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Jim Wetzel

Former Casper Police Chief Jim Wetzel attends a City Council meeting in October 2016. Wetzel, who was ousted from his position in May 2017, reached a settlement with the city in December over his dismissal.

File, Star-Tribune

Former Casper Police Chief Jim Wetzel agreed not to take legal action related to his dismissal against the city of Casper or its insurer if the city allowed him to buy out his retirement.

The city manager’s office released the terms of the agreement Wednesday. The settlement, finalized on Dec. 22, means Wetzel cannot sue the city or the Wyoming Association of Risk Management for any alleged damages that occurred as a result of his claim that he was wrongfully terminated from the city.

The agreement also states that the city is allowing Wetzel to make a service purchase into the Wyoming Retirement System.

“It’s understood and agreed that this settlement is a compromise of disputed claims and that the consideration given in connection with this settlement is not intended, nor will be construed, as any admission of liability on the part of the Releases, by each of whom liability is expressly denied,” the document reads.

City Manager Carter Napier confirmed in January that the city had reached an agreement with former police chief but declined to provide further details at that time due to a confidentiality clause. The city manager said Wednesday that both parties have since agreed that the settlement document can be released.

The city is pleased with the terms of the agreement, according to Napier.

“I think it’s a good conclusion,” he said.

The former police chief was dismissed from his position last May after internal turmoil with the Casper Police Department became public. Casper officials have repeatedly refused to provide a direct reason for Wetzel’s departure and the city’s lawyers have rejected the Star-Tribune’s requests for documents related to the investigation.

The decision came about a month after a survey conducted by the Casper Fraternal Order of Police found a toxic work environment inside the department.

Two weeks after his dismissal, Wetzel spoke at a City Council meeting and publicly criticized city leadership. It was the only time he has spoken publicly since his dismissal.

Wetzel stated at the meeting that the FOP survey was conducted to “deliberately trash the chief of police” and said those who criticized him were driven by a “hate-filled personal motive.”

The Casper City Council released a joint statement about the settlement on Wednesday.

“All matters between Chief Wetzel and the City have been resolved,” it states. “The settlement agreement lays out all terms and conditions of the agreement.”

Keith McPheeters, who previously worked a deputy police chief in New Mexico, was appointed as Casper’s new police chief in December.

Katie King covers the city of Casper.


Local Government Reporter

Katie King joined the Star-Tribune in 2017 and primarily covers issues related to local government. She previously worked as a crime reporter in the British Virgin Islands. Originally from Virginia, Katie is a graduate of James Madison University.

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