DeKalb police officer resigns position

By Sabryna Cornish

A DeKalb police officer resigned his job when police and fire commissioners asked him to quit Wednesday after he was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol.

Patrolman Jerry Christensen was relieved of his duties after an agreement was struck between him and City Attorney Ronald Matekaitis.

Christensen was charged after being involved in an accident in August that injured Christensen and two other people, police said.

A letter from the DeKalb Officers’ Fraternal Order of Police to DeKalb Police Chief Donald Berke stated the officers supported Christensen and wanted to see him remain in the department.

Berke testified that Christensen was a good officer, but said he felt it would be hard for Christensen to do his job because of public perception.

DeKalb Officer Michael Chamberlain said the board shouldn’t have asked Christensen to resign.

“I don’t think he was entitled to any better treatment than the public would receive,” he said. “Police should not be held at a higher standard than citizens.”

Chamberlain also said it seems unfair Christensen was fired because he had “an exemplary record.”

“It makes me wonder what kind of support officers will receive when they get into a sticky situation,” he said.

Christensen has been with the department for four years and graduated in the top 10 percent of his police academy.

Berke declined to comment on the board’s decision.

Christensen was unavailable for comment.

The hearings took place over two days.