New Holstein’s Common Council voted 6-2 on Wednesday evening (Jan. 20) to maintain and rebuild the New Holstein Police Department.
The decision was different than Option 1 which was proposed by Jeffrey Roemer of McMahon Engineers/Architects Public Safety & Municipal Management, who proposed to have him start negotiations with the Calumet County Sheriff’s Office to provide shared law enforcement services to the city.
Roemer told aldermen, city officials, and about 30 residents who gathered at the Fire Station for the Common Council meeting that the department is currently well understaffed because of the resignation of the chief and two full-time officers in the past few months. He also said he believes it will be difficult to hire a new chief and officers because of the controversy which has surrounded this issue in recent months.
But aldermen said they have heard from their constituents who have voiced their feelings about retaining a city police department. An initial motion made by Alderman Fran Schmitz to go with Option 1 died for lack of a second. Later, Alderman Richard Snelson moved and Alderman Terry Thiessen seconded to go with Option 2, and the motion passed on a 6-2 voice vote with Schmitz and Alderman Scott Konkol voting in the minority.
The duty of hiring a police chief falls with the city’s Police & Fire Commission.
Roemer pointed out that the department may have difficulty providing 24/7 coverage starting Feb. 1. Officer Chuck Schroeder informed the city about a week ago that he will be leaving as of March 10 to take a position in Eagle River, and that he wanted to move to part-time status in the interim. Roemer also said that the Calumet County Sheriff’s Office has a statutory obligation to provide law enforcement coverage to the city if requested.
(For more on this story please see the Jan. 28 issue of the Tri-County News.)