Not every time you see a patrol car in Kewaunee County will a ticket or an arrest follow. There has been a reduction in crime in certain areas, but the number of calls to help continue to rise in part because of civil matters. Kewaunee County Sheriff Matt Joski says when it comes to responding to events like child custody and property disputes, deputies are there more to keep the peace than anything else.
Joski says if you find yourself in the middle of a civil dispute to understand why the officer is serving that role. You can read more about this topic with Sheriff Joski online with this story.
FROM SHERIFF MATT JOSKI
Although I try to keep my articles fresh and attempt to cover new material each week, there are some topics that I feel should be and need to be re visited. The topic of civil laws versus criminal laws and the extent to which we are able to assist in a matter which is civil in nature continues to cause some confusion, and places law enforcement officers in unnecessary circumstances in which they feel obligated to assist, but cannot.
I have been asked many times about how busy we are in law enforcement recently. I am assuming that people are curious as to how many major crimes take place, or what the trend is in comparison to past years. In recent years we have seen a reduction in most areas of crime; however our calls for service continue to increase. Some of the most frequent calls for service relate to civil matters. These calls involve things such as child custody, property disputes, eviction orders, and restraining orders. I would like to focus on these civil calls, as they not only seem to be increasing, but they bring with them some misunderstanding of law enforcement’s roll in regards to them.
Generally there are two classifications of legal process; criminal, and civil. Those of us in law enforcement focus on criminal, as that is our primary purpose. We do however assist in civil calls in support of court orders. Primarily this is in the capacity of keeping the peace. We may keep the peace as one party removes their property in response to an eviction, or recent separation. We may keep the peace as property is being recovered as part of repossession. We may also keep the peace as children are being transferred from one parent to another. You may notice a theme running through these and that is our obligation to keep the peace. Many times officers are asked for advice, opinions, or recommendations. These unfortunately put the officers in a tough situation, as they may in fact have opinions, or good advice to give. It is best we stick to the purpose for which we are there for, and that again is to keep the peace. If you find yourself in a situation where law enforcement is summoned to respond in support of a court order, please understand and respect the capacity, in which that officer is serving.