Oakwood says no reason to believe accused ex-chief did anything wrong here

The man who oversaw Oakwood police officers for more than a decade before leaving late last year was arrested this week in Wisconsin, where he faces 10 counts of possession of child pornography, according to the Winnebago County Sheriff’s Office.

Former Oakwood Public Safety Director Alex Bebris is in custody in the Winnebago County Jail in Oshkosh. His arrest shocked Oakwood officials Thursday.

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Bebris left his Oakwood position — he oversaw police officers, firefighters and EMTs — to pursue a new career, according to city officials. Current chief Alan Hill succeeded him. Bebris held the job for 11 years.

Jennifer Wilder, director of personnel and properties for Oakwood, released a statement on behalf of the city.

“We are shocked by the recent arrest of former employee Alex Bebris. Mr. Bebris separated from employment with the City of Oakwood on November 10, 2017,” Wilder noted in her statement. “We have no additional information regarding the facts or circumstances surrounding Mr. Bebris’s arrest, nor do we have any reason to believe that Mr. Bebris engaged in any inappropriate or illegal behavior while employed in Oakwood. As this is a pending matter in the State of Wisconsin, the City of Oakwood will have no further comments.”

Lt. Chris Braman said in a statement that the Winnebago County Sheriff’s Office, along with with the Wisconsin Department of Justice Division of Criminal Investigation, served a search warrant Wednesday at a residence belonging to Bebris in the Village of Fox Crossing.

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“The search warrant was in response to alleged electronic transfer of suspected child pornography identified in a cybertip through the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children,” Braman said in the statement, adding that law enforcement moves quickly when receiving tips about those suspected of child pornography offenses because of the tendency of criminals to dispose of the photos expeditiously.

The Winnebago County Sheriff’s Office is an affiliate of the nationwide Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force and regularly conducts follow-up on cybertips, Braman said, which led to an investigation into Bebris.

As a result of evidence seized during the search warrant, Bebris, 49, was taken into custody for multiple counts of possession of child pornography. The investigation is still ongoing, according to Braman.

Bebris recently ran as a Republican candidate for Outagamie County sheriff, but did not win the election, according to the Post Crescent newspaper. He lost in a landslide to Republican and former NFL player Clint Kriewaldt, 42, who played for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Kriewaldt was a sergeant in the Outagamie County Sheriff’s office and recorded more than 70 percent of the vote in the election.

Sgt. Nathan Borman from the sheriff’s office said that Bebris, “has never been a part of this department and is not part of this department.”

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Bebris also had stints in law enforcement before his career in Oakwood, as chief deputy of the Adams County Sheriff’s Department, officer with the Milwaukee Police Department and lieutenant with the town of Menasha (now known as the Fox Crossing Police Department), according to the Winnebago County Sheriff’s Office.

His campaign website states that he has been in law enforcement for more than 30 years. Bebris said he has helped to shape "policy on critical issues such as jail management, tactical crime suppression, racial profiling, and freeing our youth from alcohol and drug use," during his career, which included a job as a security officer while he attended Marquette University. He also says that he returned to Wisconsin because that is where is wife's family lives and his first child was born.

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