O-W Police Committee gets update on police calls

By Cindy Cardinal
Posted 7/10/24

The Owen-Withee Police Committee met on Tuesday, July 2. Under Public Comment, Mary Rosiejka asked about the ordinances for cleaning up old/unlicensed vehicles in the village of Withee. Committee …

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O-W Police Committee gets update on police calls


The Owen-Withee Police Committee met on Tuesday, July 2. Under Public Comment, Mary Rosiejka asked about the ordinances for cleaning up old/unlicensed vehicles in the village of Withee. Committee member Bob Wilczek said that was a Withee issue. Chief of Police Patrick Fehlman suggested looking at the police agreement with the purpose and rules for the committee. He added that once they are done with the current abatement at Dania Street, they will have a set practice for dealing with other properties in both municipalities. He noted a lack of resources, the time these cases take, and writing citations versus abatement. The property in question has received letters in the past.

A Call Report from January to June was given to the members. Fehlman said there is nothing that can be done in their system to change the fact that all traffic stops are listed as Owen. That has to do with the Dept. of Transportation program. They were also shown a map with 2023 traffic calls plotted out. Fehlman said they went back to their old system for reports, which stores them in-house after the cloud system had been breached. Officer Jake Haugstad said about 460 of the 750 calls were shown on the map. If coordinates are too close together, it won’t plot them separately. Haugstad reported only about 250 traffic stops so far this year due to the number of large cases they have been working on. He said that currently the ratio is about two warnings to one citation for traffic stops. He is currently working on a subpoena that might lead to him testifying in a case in another part of the state. There were fewer disorderly/disturbance type calls at the school this year, but there was an increase in tobacco use and vaping. Chief Fehlman said he met with school administration to work on a truancy policy. Officer Haugstad said overall truancy is down. There were a couple of stolen vehicles in late 2023, early 2024 and bikes continue to be stolen. Fehlman said they have had a lot of complaints for dogs at large. Haugstad reported on the mock accident that was done at the school. The officers have also taught a section of the Drivers Education class related to the OWI process. There were no issues with Withee Days other than an OWI late Saturday night. Fehlman said they had a drug case last week. Haugstad plans to demonstrate his new dashcam and give some statistics on its use at a future meeting. He said it has led to an increase in stops for expired registrations, revoked licenses, etc.

In terms of an update on the garage, Chief Fehlman said he still had only one price and no quote for the doors. Due to the amount of work needed on the current structure, he would like to look into the cost of tearing down the current garage versus building a new one. They have mouse issues in the garage with mice causing damage to the police vehicles. Committee member Everett Lindgren asked if the police department should pay for any work done. Wilczek said that the city of Owen gave the garage to the police department.

Officer Haugstad was asked to give an update on K-9 Jimi. Haugstad said Jimi has had a lot of vet appointments and with a change in medication and diet appears to be doing better. He is waiting for the results of Jimi’s last tests. He has put Jimi back in training and will keep working with the vet. Haugstad hit a deer with his squad car with only cosmetic damage, which will be fixed the middle of July. Fehlman said a new vehicle completely outfitted would cost $55,000 to $60,000. He said they are fortunate to have an extra car for when one of the others is being repaired or having maintenance done. He said they would have to save about $18,000 a year for three years to purchase a new squad and they are currently maintaining all three vehicles for $8,500.

Before bills were paid, a question was asked about a bill from Abby Ford for $2,485.47. It was for a complete service of the Crown Vic, including tires, a control arm, tie rod, and alignment.

Quarterly meetings will be changed to September, December, March, and June going forward. For future agenda items, the committee will get an update on the garage, discuss what the committee can and cannot do, and Chief Fehlman would like to talk about hiring a third officer due to case load.