By LeAnn R. Ralph
ELK MOUND — Elk Mound’s new police chief, Travis Hakes, recently attended a week-long seminar in Madison for new police chiefs and sheriffs sponsored by the Wisconsin Department of Justice.
Hakes was hired as the part-time police chief in Elk Mound last spring.
Elk Mound’s full-time police chief, Randy Bartelt, retired the previous November.
The Department of Justice sponsored the training and covered the cost, Hakes noted.
“I learned a lot. We covered everything from budgeting to personnel issues to the legal side of things to dealing with police unions. A lot of it was applicable to here, even though this is a small-town department,” he said.
“It was very informative for me for my position here,” he said, adding, “I also learned why things are a done a certain way in a larger department.”
In addition to being the police chief in Elk Mound, Hakes is a full-time police officer in Lake Hallie.
“I learned a lot about policies and procedures and state mandates. It was very good. We spent five days, 40 hours, learning about day-to-day operations,” he said.
A number of new police chiefs from this area attended the training, including Altoona, Cameron, Cornell, Ellsworth and Eau Claire.
“The chief from Eau Claire was a student too. So we covered items for an agency as big as Eau Claire and as little as Elk Mound. We had a range of a department with 100 full-time officers to a department with two part-time officers,” Hakes said.
Between 40 and 50 new chiefs of police and newly elected county sheriffs were there in Madison for the training, he said.
“It was one of the bigger classes that they’ve had over the last few years,” Hakes said.
“Any training is good training, but this was training that did not cost the village anything, and I took a lot away from it. It was a very well put together class,” he said.
The new chiefs and sheriffs training is offered once a year by the Department of Justice.
Mike Tietz, who lives in Elk Mound and recently retired from the Dunn County Sheriff’s Department, attended the training in the 1980s, Hakes noted.
“J.B. Van Hollen (Wisconsin’s attorney general) said he tries to make it a priority every year. Some years, when it is an election year, there will be more new sheriffs than chiefs of police. They tailor it to (the participants). If 30 smaller agencies are represented, they cover more issues pertaining to smaller agencies. In an election year, they cover more sheriff’s department administration than they did this year. They try to do something like this once a year,” Hakes said.
According to a news release from the attorney general’s office, “office management, leadership, budgeting, recruitment, public records, labor, community and media relations were among the topics included. Participants also were briefed on the state and federal resources that are available to assist local law enforcement agencies.”
“It was well worth the time and effort to attend,” Hakes said.
Travis Hakes is a resident of Elk Mound.