(Juneau) The Dodge County Board recently approved creating three new positions within the sheriff’s office to support a contract for law enforcement services the agency has with the village of Lomira. The Lomira Police Department has faced numerous challenges over the years including staff turnover and the retirement of its chief in September.
At that time, the Dodge County Sheriff’s Office agreed to manage the department. Sheriff Dale Schmidt says when his office took over, they discovered several things that were not up to (quote) “best practice.”
“We found a number of cases…which I struggle with…that did not receive additional investigation,” says Schmidt. “Anything from some sexual assaults, child pornography cases, theft, a death investigation. We got some cases our investigators are now following up on because the ball did seem to get dropped a bit.”
Schmidt says the evidence room was in disarray and they found issues with personnel management as well as training. Two officers remained with the Lomira Police Department and the sheriff says they have “gotten better” over the last four months. He says the village board decided to contract with the sheriff’s office on a permanent basis.
“The county board authorized two new patrol deputies and one patrol sergeant to really be that Dodge County Sheriff’s Office presence in the village of Lomira,” says Schmidt. “To be that police department within the village. And those three individuals will start in March, it will be a ramp up. Probably start with two and we’ll get that third one in there as quickly as we can.”
Schmidt says the new staff will replace the two officers who remained at the Lomira Police Department but they will have the opportunity to re-apply with the sheriff’s office. The sheriff assures citizens of the village that the people hired will be a part of that community.
“These three deputies…slash sergeants…are going to be there every day,” says Schmidt. “They’re going to build relationships within the village. They are going to be there…they’re constant points of contact.”
Schmidt says Lomira will be saving roughly $50-thousand-dollars annually by contracting with the sheriff’s office because the village will no longer need an administrative staff. He adds that this agreement will be beneficial for everyone involved and hopefully be a long term arrangement.