By LeAnn R. Ralph
ELK MOUND — The Elk Mound Village Board has agreed to proceed with advertising for a part-time police chief following the retirement of Elk Mound Police Chief Randy Bartelt.
The Elk Mound Village Board discussed options for the police department at the December 5 meeting.
Board members agreed that they should try to find a part-time employee for police work in the village.
“We need to build the niche and then fill it,” said Tom Gilbert, village trustee.
Elk Mound budgets about $75,000 per year in salary and benefits for a police chief.
The idea is to decide between a full-time police chief or two part-time officers, said Andy Peterson, village president.
If an employee works more than 1,200 hours per year, the village must pay state retirement, said Pat Hahn, village clerk-treasurer.
The village would be paying less for two 25-hour-per week employees that what it would pay for a full-time police chief, Peterson said.
The village board also could have a police officer rather than a police chief, he said.
Jackie Swartz, village trustee, noted that the townships do not have police officers and rely on Dunn County when needed.
“I think more things happen when people live closer together,” Hahn noted.
The most difficult aspect of police work to quantify is — what crimes did you prevent? said Terry Stamm, public works director.
Village Trustee Deborah Creaser-Kipp said she was fine with hiring someone part-time but did not want to eliminate Elk Mound’s police department.
After reviewing a Dunn County call log, Swartz noted that most of the calls for Dunn County to Elk Mound were in the afternoon and evening.
The village could have a police officer on duty during those peak times, she said.
Peterson said he was concerned that the village would get into a “revolving door” situation by only hiring a part-time police chief.
The village could have a police officer or a police chief and a constable who would handle ordinance violations, such as failing to shovel snow off a sidewalk, Swartz said.
The village’s ordinances include a police chief and give authority to the police chief and would need to be changed to accommodate a constable, Hahn said.
Administration is one thing and execution of the work is another, Stamm said.
Someone needs to be trained for CPR and how to handle emergencies, he said.
Swartz suggested a “hybrid” public works employee and a constable.
Stamm has said he would like to hire someone part-time who could learn the job and be ready to take over when he retires, Swartz said.
The solution could be a part-time public works employee and a part-time constable to enforce ordinances, she said.
The Elk Mound Village Board eventually agreed to advertise for a part-time police chief with benefits, wages and hours being negotiable.