Kewaunee County Sheriff’s Department deputies made safety their top concern when approaching their patrol duties in 2020. The number of arrests, citations, and warnings made in 2020 were all down compared to 2019, though they were not off by much. Deputies made 203 arrests and issued 1,162 citations in 2020, compared to 246 arrests and 1,183 citations a year ago. The biggest drop was with warnings, which saw a drop of close to 400 to 1,159. Deputies were still assigned over 2,100 complaints and conducted close to 2,300 property checks. Kewaunee County Sheriff Matt Joski says deputies took precautions when determining if making a stop, and potentially exposing themselves to COVID-19, was necessary.
A minimum of two deputies patrol Kewaunee County roads at all times, covering about 400 square miles. You can see a full breakdown of the patrol numbers for Kewaunee County below.
FROM SHERIFF JOSKI
As I continue with reporting the activity of the Sheriff’s Department thus far in 2020, 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. Jason Veeser. The minimal staffing for Kewaunee County’s 400 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.
In 2020 we have had to make many adjustments in an effort to minimize exposure to both our Deputies as well as members of our community who may be requesting our services. This may have meant conducting initial interviews with victims or witnesses by phone versus in person, as well safety considerations when actually engaging with potential suspects. In the end however, our Deputies must balance the risk of exposure with the need to make contact with those who either need our services, or require physical arrest due to their actions.
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 2,864 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 502 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 thus far in 2020 is 203. 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. So far in 2020 there have been 1,162 Citations issued along with 1,159 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 402 of the calls so far this 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 468 citizen assists so far this year. Property checks are a service we provide when requested from individuals or businesses in our community who may be away from their homes for an extended period of time, or they are areas we give additional amount of attention to as a result of being a victim of a recent criminal act. So far in 2020 we have logged such duties resulting in Deputies checking on various properties 2,292 times.
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. The work of these Deputies has been especially trying during this past year as they navigate through the many health precautions while still responding to and taking appropriate actions to keep our community safe.
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! On behalf of the Kewaunee County Sheriff’s Department, I wish everyone a peaceful and joy filled Christmas.