Just like you are, patrol deputies in Kewaunee County are certainly seeing things get closer to normal after the onset of the pandemic.
Patrol deputies in Kewaunee County were assigned 3,195 complaints in 2021 as they responded to a wide array of incidents. That was certainly up from 2020 when pandemic lockdowns and precautions kept them from being more active. It is still down from the 3,532 complaints assigned in 2019. Compared to that year, patrols arrested 13 fewer people (246 vs. 230) and issued 110 fewer citations (1,183 vs. 1,072). Lost in numbers is what happens when deputies get tied up in incidents that often take hours instead of minutes. With only two patrol deputies on duty to cover over 300 square miles, Kewaunee County Sheriff Matt Joski says they have to rely on a lot of help to cover the gaps.
Patrol deputies do not just write tickets and arrest people. Checking in on property and mediating tense situations are just some of the other tasks they tackle on a daily basis. You can read the full year in review from Sheriff Joski below.
FROM SHERIFF JOSKI
As I continue with reporting the activity of the Sheriff’s Department in 2021, I would like to share some data from the Patrol Division. Probably the most visible division within the Kewaunee County Sheriff’s Department is our Patrol Division, and it comprises of the most recognizable duties which we carry out throughout the year. There are twelve deputies assigned to the Patrol Division which is supervised by Lt. Eric Pieschek. The minimal staffing for Kewaunee County’s 322 square miles are two patrol deputies. When you consider the distance from Tisch Mills on our southern border and Dyckesville on our northern border you begin to understand the demands which this puts on our staff both from the perspective of continual presence to that of response time.
If we were to look at the overall process from the time that a call or complaint is made to the Sheriff’s Department through its completion, the Patrol Division plays an important role. Aside from those calls which are determined to be civil in nature, and not involving an active crime, the patrol division is dispatched to every one of them ranging from keep the peace to traffic offense to domestics. The category for these calls is “Complaints Assigned” and they account for 3,195 of the total activity. In many cases the complaints may be occurring within one of the local jurisdictions or even involving an adjacent county, but we are requested to provide assistance. These are categorized as “Assist Other Agencies” and account for 558 of the total patrol activity.
Of these complaints that we respond to not all result in arrest. Many times the Deputy is able to mediate the situation, or resolve the complaint with a warning to the perpetrator. In some cases the evidence which is provided to the Deputy requires that an arrest be made. In those cases where it is necessary to arrest the total number of arrests in 2021 was 230. While this number may seem low these calls tend to be very involved and require a great deal of the Deputy’s time in follow up and documentation.
The most commonly perceived duty of the Patrol Deputy is of course traffic enforcement, although it accounts for very little of the overall time spent in a given shift due to the demands of call response. In 2021, there were 1,073 Citations issued along with 1,062 Warnings. We like to approach traffic enforcement from an educational perspective, and when possible try to achieve the learning experience through warnings. Unfortunately there are times where either the offense is so egregious or the individual has already been given the courtesy of a warning that a citation is unavoidable. It is important for people to realize that Deputies do not enjoy issuing citations any more than the person on the receiving end. Our ultimate goal is always public safety.
Some of the duties which the Patrol Division carries out which may not be as commonly known are those related to civil process. By statute the Sheriff’s Department is tasked with carrying out actions which are a result of our circuit court Judge’s orders. These can range from eviction actions, actions in support of a writ, or even involvement in child custody orders. We are also part of the notification to those involved in these actions through the service of papers or notices. These “Papers Served or Attempted” account for 339 of the calls in the past year.
The two final categories are what I would consider Customer Service. They are “Citizen Assists” and “Property Checks”. The category of citizen assists is for the most part unplanned events which are a result of an unfortunate circumstance on the part of the citizen. These can range from stranded motorists to providing information regarding vehicle registration or licensing. Deputies handled 448 citizen assists last year. Property checks are a service we provide when requested from individuals in our community who may be away from their homes for an extended period of time, or an additional amount of attention we may give to a property which has been the victim of a recent criminal act and the owner would like us to monitor activities in their area. In 2021 we conducted 2,322 such checks. A final category which our Patrol Division responds to are; “Welfare Checks”. These are calls where a loved one or neighbor has not heard from or had contact with the person involved and are asking our assistance in verifying their wellbeing or status. Fortunately, most times the outcome is merely that they were gone on vacation or just too busy to get back to the person checking on them. Our Department responded to 335 such requests in 2021.
I hope that the take away from this article is that when you see a Sheriff’s Department squad you have a better understanding of the many different duties that these men and women engage in on a given shift. In all of these numbers, the most important element is the relationship that we have with those whom we serve. All the data and statistics mean nothing if we do not have the support of our community and it is our goal to maintain a high level of professionalism for those we have sworn to protect and serve!