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The Tomahawk Leader is a state and national prize-winning weekly newspaper serving the scenic Northwoods area in and around Tomahawk, WI.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 24, 2007 11:32 pm 
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A Letter to the Editor in the April 24 Tomahawk Leader:

To the Editor,

I have considered writing this letter for several days. The horrible death of Tracy Maurer will continue to haunt the Tomahawk area for a very long time. I have spoken with many women since the news broke, and we are all concerned about the police officer’s decision not to force entry on the first visit to Maurer’s apartment. Why didn’t the landlord meet the officer there to aid in entry if needed? Did the officer examine the entire outside of the house? Why weren’t the bloody handprints seen? After a call stating that a woman was screaming, crying, yelling and moaning and seemed to be in danger, wouldn’t it have been better to err on the side of a woman’s life, rather than worry about departmental policy?

We, as human beings, are fed up with the lack of concern for women’s safety in matters of abuse, sexual attack and potential homicide for whatever reason. Was Tracy Maurer still alive when the officer knocked on the door, or was the murderer still there? All I can think about is that poor woman needing help and not getting it. Something needs to be changed in police procedures in these disturbing incidents.

Sincerely,
Gennie Nord
Tripoli


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 25, 2007 3:11 pm 
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One time I was working in the yard when I heard the phone ring inside the house. I ran in and by the time I got to the phone it stopped ringing. I was expecting a call and was curious if that was the call I was waiting for. I decided to call *69 to see who the last call was from. In my haste of running in and rushed breath, not really being in the moment, I mistakenly dialed 911! Nobody answered on the first ring so I quickly hung up, realizing my mistake. Moments later the phone rang and it was 911 following up on the call I didn't even realize was received. I told them what had happened and she said they'd still have to come out to see if things were really all right. After all, I could have been a guy that grabbed the phone from a caller and just was saying it was a mistake. I said O.K. if your policy is to come anyway, send someone out to see. Now here comes the lameness of the system: 30 minutes later a squad showed up. Just think if I were a wife beater or a molester, 30 minutes later someone could have been dead. It doesn't seem like a good responce time to a supposed domestic problem.
That woman may have been alive when the police were there the first time. Why wasn't that call taken more seriously?


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 25, 2007 6:49 pm 
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Maybe more information will come out in this week's Leader but the article from last week concerning how the police responded to the call to Maurer's apartment certainly begs for more information on how the call was handled.

20/20 hindsight is always perfect but I would still like to understand better why entry wasn't made into the apartment "after an upstairs tenant reported "yelling and screaming" coming from Maurer's residence...".

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 27, 2007 3:50 pm 
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I think it is absolutely wrong to think that entrance should have been forced with the first call. There are many domestic calls made every night - should entrance be forced in EVERY situation if the door is not answered? I don't think it is to be expected that the police would know what the outcome of every situation will be. Hind sight is 50/50 - this could have been a simple domestic disturbance - unfortunetly it was not. There was no red flag there that said different. From what I have read they had no reason to think it was anything other than a domestic disturbance that quieted down.


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 28, 2007 11:52 pm 
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There is more than just hindsight involved, and entry should have been pursued to ensure that everything was OK. There was more than enough reason to get the landlord down to the door with a key or, failing that, to force entry. I realize that this is a matter of opinion, but why bother to have a police department if they do not take actions that help to protect people. I would rather see the department begging for forgiveness than waiting around for permission in a case like this one. To assert, after an upstairs neighbor reports yelling and screaming from below, that there is nothing amiss and that it can wait until tomorrow is simply bad police work. If there was nothing amiss, then why did the department go back the next day at all? I think that the case was handled badly, and I hope that the department will do better in the future.


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 29, 2007 3:41 am 
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Last edited by Dopey Dwarf on Mon May 25, 2009 12:52 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 29, 2007 8:44 am 
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It really is hard to believe and very disheartening to know that I could be yelling and screaming and in the process of being murdered ... the neighbors call in a complaint of hearing me yelling and screaming...the police show up, they don't hear anything, and therefore do not enter my residence. I'm sorry, but it would be pretty hard to continue yelling and screaming after I'm dead. I canNOT believe they did not enter that residence. If there is so much noise, so much yelling, so much screaming, as to cause a neighbor to call the police, and then when the police get there everything is quiet, that should be enough to at least make them WONDER and therefore enter. It's not like the neighbor complained of loud music or loud laughter or something of the sort. It was loud YELLING AND SCREAMING!


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 29, 2007 4:02 pm 
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It's law - not policy. Absent a compelling reason, the police have no probable cause to enter your home. "Because the neighbor said so" isn't going to stand up in court. The investigating officer - himself - needs to observe something that would give him cause to enter. If he gets there and all is quiet and he sees nothing suspicious he'd be risking a lawsuit for going all John Wayne on the door. Neighbors have been known to be wrong before as this story illustrates.

<small>[ May 08, 2007, 06:09 PM: Message edited by: Brian ]</small>

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PostPosted: Tue May 08, 2007 4:03 pm 
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A Letter to the Editor in the May 8, 2007, Tomahawk Leader

‘Noise’ disturbance only …

I am the tenant who lives in the apartment upstairs from Tracy Maurer. I am writing this to inform the community that the newspapers and television released inaccurate information about the night of April 5, 2007. I did not report yelling or screaming that night. The police were called for a “noise” disturbance only. The noise did not last long and when the police came the noise had stopped completely. I felt that the police did everything necessary at the time, no matter what the criticism has been. Knowing that people will believe what they read or hear, I think the facts should be more accurate before they are released.
A. Crohn
Tomahawk

(Editor’s Note: We know this person feels very strongly about the words used in recent news stories, but, in our defense, it must be noted the terms “yelling and screaming” were taken directly from the local police report, which was closely repeated as “yelling and crying” in the official criminal complaint filed in Lincoln County Circuit Court by District Attorney Ralph Uttke. We have since been told by the landlord who made the actual call to police that a tenant had contacted her and said there had been a crashing sound, sobbing and that the tenant thought her name had been said, but couldn’t be sure. We planned to make note of the changed terminology in any future recap of the story. It’s reassuring that a person who was directly at the scene that night feels the situation was handled properly and we appreciate that she has since contacted us.)


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