(Juneau) The village of Lomira now has 24/7 law enforcement coverage. The Dodge County Sheriff’s Office began its contract for police services for Lomira on March 1st. The village’s police department has faced numerous challenges over the years including staff turnover and the retirement of its chief last September. Sheriff Dale Schmidt says the department has never been a full-time law enforcement agency and his office has always been responsible for services when police were not on duty.
“All of the additional services that [Lomira residents] be receiving will be covered by the sheriff’s office which is going to be…in my opinion…far more efficient,” says Schmidt. “And I think there’s going to be a very positive future for the village of Lomira because we have the ability to be there 24/7 and be a little bit more consistent in the way we handle our operations.”
Schmidt adds that some days, there were no Lomira police officers assigned to patrol the village. Three deputies have been tasked to work the village on a full-time basis. Sergeant Donald Counard will lead the law enforcement efforts within Lomira and oversee the deputies assigned.
“He’s going to bring a lot of things to the village of Lomira that I think the residents are going to very happy with,” says Schmidt. “And he really is hitting the ground running. He’s been going around to business owners and having conversations with them…introducing himself and letting them know what he can do for the community. He’s very excited.”
Schmidt says Counard is a 28-year law enforcement veteran who has excelled in the area of community policing. He adds that Counard has worked in small communities before coming to the sheriff’s office and has done wonderful things with their Fatal Vision Program and Once Chance Program.
Deputy Codey Bratz has also been assigned to the village. The sheriff says he is truly “Officer Friendly.”
“Everybody just loves to talk to…he’ll bend over backwards for you but he’s not afraid to enforce the law and he is really excited about his opportunity,” says Schmidt.
Schmidt says Bratz has has been assigned temporarily as the school resource officer for much of the remainder of the 2022-2023 school year and has already taken time to get to know the school staff, sit in on some classes to build relationships with students and staff, and he has even taken time to get to know the students during recess. He says Bratz will serve in this role until Deputy Jay Thielmann can take over, which will happen in around two months.
“But [Thielmann] really wants to get out in front of incidents and work with kids rather than dealing with them after they’ve been sentenced,” says Schmidt. “But he’s really looking forward to this opportunity. A great communicator and another one of those guys that’s just a super friendly person.”
Schmidt says Thielmann formerly was a probation and parole officer and is currently a patrol deputy working third shift.
Former Lomira Officer Brian Justman applied to work for the sheriff’s office and was sworn in as their newest deputy Monday morning.
“We are very thankful and happy to have him join our family at the Dodge County Sheriff’s Office,” says Schmidt.
Schmidt says Justman now begins his field training and they are excited about his future career.
The sheriff says his office looks forward to continuing their law enforcement efforts and enhancing their presence in the village. He says it is their goal to make this transition a successful one, which will enhance law enforcement services over what was provided previously while doing so at a reduction in cost to the residents of Lomira.
–Photos courtesy of the Dodge County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page