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A week after fire chief’s arrest for OWI, Onalaska’s assistant police chief will abruptly retire Monday



Onalaska will need a new assistant police chief.

The city has announced that Jeffery Cavender will retire as assistant chief on Monday, just days after he was placed on paid leave.

Cavender and Onalaska Fire Chief Billy Hayes both reportedly had been drinking beer together last week, after which Hayes was arrested for driving drunk.

Hayes was put on administrative leave after his arrest, and La Crosse District Attorney Tim Gruenke is investigating.

Gruenke said because this reportedly is Hayes’s first OWI — he failed a sobriety test, blowing a .13 — he’s likely to only get a ticket and may not face further charges.

Hayes also, however, reportedly did try and use his position to possibly get out of being charged, and telling the the officer that stopped him he had been drinking beer with Cavendar.

It’s still unclear whether all the incidences are related or just coincidences.

Cavender was hired by Onalaska last year, after he was dismissed as police chief in Somerton, Ari.

A native of Prairie du Chien, Brad graduated from UW - La Crosse and has worked in radio news for more than 30 years, mostly in the La Crosse area. He regularly covers local courts and city and county government. Brad produces the features "Yesterday in La Crosse" and "What's Buried on Brad's Desk." He also writes the website "Triviazoids," which finds odd connections between events that happen on a certain date, and he writes and performs with the local comedy group Heart of La Crosse. Brad been featured on several national TV programs because of his memory skills.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Michele

    April 14, 2019 at 1:34 pm

    How can you retire from a job you haven’t even held for one year?

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