Waupun Mayor Says Public Safety Services Need Support To Grow

(Waupun) Waupun officials say the next few years will be crucial for the growth of its fire department and city-owned ambulance service. An Emergency Medical Responder program was recently launched in the city to get quicker care for citizens. Waupun does have a contracted ambulance provider but Mayor Rohn Bishop says they can be busy dealing with interfacility transfers for the hospital and prisons, causing wait times to increase.

The city’s EMS response falls under the purview of Fire Chief B.J. DeMaa. Bishop says that the leadership at the fire department is stretched thin and in need of support.

“We have a full-time chief and an assistant chief but they’re on call 24/7, 365 and its going to burn them out and we can’t keep doing that,” says Bishop. “We need to get them some help at the top so they can take a day off once and awhile and not have to be on call all the time.”

Bishop says there will also be discussions around bolstering the number of volunteer firefighters that are on call as well as installing showers at the fire department. He notes that those things cost money and suggests that a public safety referendum could come before voters within the next year or two.

“Don’t know if we can do it without having a public safety referendum down the road in a couple of years. I’m not saying we are going to do it, but if I had to guess we are but it’s a discussion that we need to start moving forward now because I want to have more transparency and make sure that all the people of Waupun know what’s going on,” says Bishop.

“If the residents don’t understand that the fire department is being overwhelmed or if their calling 911 for an ambulance and it could be a long wait. We have to get these facts out in front of the public as we go forward so that we can make the right decisions that the community wants us to be making.”

Bishop said the goal is to have a clearer picture of the future of Waupun’s public safety infrastructure by winter.