By Al Stanek
Whitewater Banner volunteer staff
Curt Patrick, 37, of 225 S. Maple Lane in Whitewater was arrested on June 25 and has been charged with three counts of delivery of cocaine, possession with intent to deliver cocaine and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Patrick’s name may be familiar to area residents. He has been employed as the manager of a popular downtown Whitewater tavern that will be facing a two-month suspension of its liquor license. The suspension is the result of a Whitewater Alcohol Licensing Review Committee’s recent hearing regarding what Whitewater (WW) Police Chief Aaron Raap described as a “pattern and practice” that generated an unusually high number of police involvements. One of those police contacts was a highly publicized reported physical assault of a female tavern employee by a student athlete who is no longer enrolled at the university.
The charges against Mr. Patrick were the result of a June 24 search warrant of his home by the Walworth County Sheriff’s Drug Unit. Mr. Patrick was under investigation after three alleged sales of cocaine to a Sheriff’s Drug Unit informant in May. The drug sales reportedly occurred at undisclosed locations in Whitewater. Mr. Patrick was released on a signature bond, with a preliminary hearing in his case set for August 2.
It is unclear if Mr. Patrick is still employed as the manager of the college-oriented establishment known as Pumpers & Mitchell’s. The ‘Banner’ contacted the establishment’s licensee, Gregory Condos, about Patrick’s employment status but he provided only a “No comment” response. Visits to Pumpers & Mitchell’s Facebook page on Tuesday produced a “No Longer Available” response.
In other WW Police related news Chief Raap reports a significant increase in police calls to the general area of the Super 8 Motel that has been honoring vouchers for homeless individuals in Rock and Walworth County.
“We are seeing a marked increase in police calls in the area,” said Raap. “They include panhandling, theft, attempted fraud, domestic abuse, drug overdose and Operating While Impaired (OWI) charges.”
WW Police reported a total of 48 incidents in the area of the motel between May 1 and July 11 this year. That compared with only one incident in the same time period last year and only one incident in the area the year before.
Raap stressed that the motel operator is doing nothing illegal by accepting publicly funded vouchers for housing homeless individuals. Motels can reportedly choose to honor vouchers and can limit the number of vouchers that they honor according to Raap. He says his department estimates an average of between 20 and 30 homeless rooms are purchased every day at the eastside motel under its arrangement with Community Action.
The ‘Banner’ reached out to City Manager Cameron Clapper for a comment regarding the concerns with this situation, to which he responded, “The City is very sympathetic to the needs of those participating in the voucher program. It can mean the difference between life and death for some participants. We don’t want to impede the potential good that can come from a program like this. However, the extent of placements in our community is putting stress on our resources.”
“In response to the increased calls for service and concerns voiced by neighboring businesses and residents, we reached out to Super 8. Representatives from Super 8 as well as Community Action were readily available to meet with city staff and discuss our concerns. We are hopeful that, as a result of our meeting, business practices will be put in place at Super 8 that will resolve our concerns. We will continue to closely track the demand on public safety services as well as concerns voiced by residents.”
“If newly discussed measures do not resolve the current drain on law enforcement resources and restore a sense of security for residents and businesses in the area, we may need to address these issues via municipal ordinance,” Clapper concluded.