UW Oshkosh Police Officer Sabel pleads not guilty to allegations

Christina Basken, News Editor

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A UW Oshkosh police officer on administrative leave pleaded not guilty to operating a firearm while intoxicated and disorderly conduct in connection with domestic abuse during his initial court appearance on Oct. 1.

Fond du Lac County Circuit Court set Dennis Sabel’s bond at $5,000. According to the conditions of the release outlined in the bail/bond, Sabel, 52, “must have no violent contact with his wife and adhere to absolute sobriety, which means he can not go to bars or taverns, and must not possess alcohol or dangerous weapons.”

Sabel is next set to appear in court on Nov. 6 for a plea/sentencing hearing. The jury trial is set for Nov. 26 before Judge Peter Grimm. If convicted, Sabel could face nine months in jail and $10,000 in fines for the possession of a firearm while intoxicated and up to an additional 90 days in jail and $1,000 in fines for disorderly conduct, domestic abuse.

The Fond du Lac County Communications Center received a 911 call on Sept. 23 reporting a male had been shot.

According to the criminal complaint, Sabel and his wife were watching a football game at a family member’s house on Sept. 23 where they had both been drinking.

Sabel’s wife stated they had left the residence to get groceries. In the car, the couple “started poking at each other in a playful manner” until Sabel hit his wife across the chest with his forearm. Sabel’s wife told police that her husband had never done anything like that before.

According to the criminal complaint, Sabel said he forgot his wife has fibromyalgia and that it hurts her when he touches her.

The two continued arguing in the kitchen as they unloaded groceries, and his wife said Sabel called her names and, put his hand in her face and pushed her. She decided to stay elsewhere that night and was packing her bag when their landlord came to their home to collect the rent that was about six months behind. Sabel stated he didn’t know they were behind on rent, and thought they were all caught up on payments.

Sabel’s wife went back to the bedroom to finish packing after their landlord left and then heard a pop in the living room, followed by her husband saying “911, 911.”

Sabel had shot himself with a single bullet from a .40 caliber handgun. The bullet traveled through the right side of his torso, exited the left side and then entered his left arm. He was transported by helicopter to ThedaCare Regional Medical Center in Neenah but did not suffer any life-threatening injuries and was later released.

According to the human resources department at the Fond du Lac County Police Department, Sabel was employed as a Fond du Lac police officer from Dec. 11, 1989 to Aug. 23, 2010.
UWO Director of Communications Mandy Potts confirmed Sabel is a University Police officer who is on administrative leave pending the outcome of an internal investigation.