Here’s Why Officer John Balcerzak Was Fired After Arresting Jeffrey Dahmer

·3 min read
Photo credit: Curt Borgwardt - Getty Images
Photo credit: Curt Borgwardt - Getty Images

The new Netflix limited series Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story, shares the tale of American serial killer, Jeffrey Dahmer, and his killings that occurred between 1978 and 1991. While the show is fictionalized, the events are based on the real murders he got away with for over a decade without detection.

Jeffrey was almost caught after several calls to the police by his neighbor Glenda Cleveland, but his crimes didn't come to an end until a man named Tracy Edwards escaped Jeffrey's home and led police to his apartment.

One of Jeffrey's arresting officers, John Balcerzak, also found himself in hot water with his partner, at the time, Joseph Gabrish.

But where is John Balcerzak now, and what role did he have in the murder of one of Jeffrey's victims? Read on for the details.

Who is John Balcerzak?

John Balcerzak was the arresting officer in the Jeffrey Dahmer case. He reported to Jeffrey's apartment with another officer after Tracy Edwards came forward about his experience with Jeffrey.

Why was John Balcerzak fired from the police force after catching Jeffrey Dahmer?

Jeffrey's neighbor, Glenda Cleveland, called the police several times after noticing suspicious behavior.

On one occasion, John Balcerzak and his partner responded to a call to find Cleveland, Sandra Smith, Tina Spivey, and Nicole Childress with a 14-year-old boy who was naked, bleeding, and seemingly in an altered state. However, when police arrived on the scene, Jeffrey had returned and insisted that the boy was his 19-year-old lover who had too much to drink, per The Cinemaholic.

Despite the women asking that the boy be taken to a safe place, the officers didn't think much of the situation and allowed Jeffrey to take him back to his apartment, where he was later killed.

In May 1991, both officers were fired after being found guilty of gross negligence, per Justia. However, Balcerzak stood his ground on his decision.

″At the time, with the information we had—to this day, I think we did the appropriate thing, the best that we could,″ Balcerzak said in his first interview after Jeffrey's arrest, per AP News.

Both officers also noted that Jeffrey was calm and cooperative when they confronted him about the boy. In response to why Cleveland's previous calls weren't taken into consideration, Balcerzak revealed that he felt he had more evidence.

″She wasn’t actually there,″ he said. ″I felt that my firsthand knowledge was more informative than what she had heard from someone else,″ per AP News.

Why was John Balcerzak reinstated?

In 1994, Reserve Judge Robert Parins ruled that firing Balcerzak and his partner was too harsh of a punishment. He added that both should be reinstated into the police force and should receive back pay of $55,000 each, per AP News.

The Fire and Police Commission also voted 4-1 on the appeal.

Where is John Balcerzak now?

John Balcerzak retired in 2017 and still lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, according to The Cinemaholic. He also reportedly owns a tavern, per AP News.

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