New Holstein Common Council members and other city officials held a special meeting last Tuesday evening to discuss options for rebuilding the New Holstein Police Department.
Mayor Jeff Hebl explained that according to state statutes the mayor is the chief executive officer of the city in such situations and said he could answer any necessary administrative questions for officers until such time that a new chief could be hired.
Hebl said Lt. Eric Voland of the Calumet County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) has the department’s work schedule set for a few months, something made easier now that the police-school liaison officer’s school duties are ending for the school year. The CCSO’s direction of the department ended as of Monday, June 1.
The mayor asked if the city might want to skip staffing the city from 3 to 7 a.m. because of low call volumes, instead allowing the CCSO to handle any emergencies which arise.
Hebl said another option is to have the Police and Fire Commission name an interim chief. Alderman Rich Snelson reminded the council that Officer Rob Baldwin had expressed an interest in being interim chief and said the department’s other two full-time officers have as well.
“I just want this over with,” Hebl told the council. “I want us to move on. I’m not looking to supervise. I’m just looking to get us through this.”
Hebl said the city’s officers have to have time off. Baldwin said scheduling should be easier in July.
Hebl said the best-case scenario for hiring a new chief would be August and said he thinks September will be “spot on.”
After a motion by Snelson to table the decision was defeated, the council voted 7-1 to follow statutes and recommend that the mayor be the temporary administrative leader of the department.
The city’s Police and Fire Commission met the following day and ratified the council’s decision, according to Chairman Elroy “Herbie” Schreiner. Schreiner said the commission set an application deadline of July 9 for the chief’s position and July 23 for the captain’s position.
The council did table action on setting job descriptions for the new chief and captain, but they discussed the desire to have the new chief be on the streets patrolling and to have the chief and captain work different shifts to provide better supervisory coverage. The council discussed focusing on hiring a new chief first, and then have the chief assist in hiring a new captain.
Discussion was held on whether or not the new chief should be required to have a Bachelor’s Degree.
The council approved offering a salary range of $75,000 to $79,000 for the new chief. Schreiner said the Police and Fire Commission is listing the captain’s salary at $70,000.
The council also discussed where to advertise for a new chief. City Administrator Casey Langenfeld reviewed her marketing plan for the position. The city will begin advertising for a captain but put a later application deadline on that position. The NHPD also will resume its Facebook page and post the positions there as well.