One of the most rewarding parts of being in a leadership position is the ability to watch those around you grow into their respective roles within our agency. Over the past 16 years, I have witnessed the transformation of young men and women from wide-eyed new candidates to well-seasoned, and experienced Public Servants. A key part of the growth process is the annual evaluation. This is a two-part activity that starts with the Deputy articulating both their strengths and growth opportunities as well as their respective goals. This is followed by the supervisors providing their feedback and evaluation of that Deputy. Our goal is to make this more of a mutual conversation than a one-sided critique. While a small agency such as the Sheriff’s Department is limited in what we can offer for opportunities, we do our best to be responsive to our staff and their desire to take on new and challenging responsibilities.
Some examples of stated goals are duties such as Field Training Officer, ERU Team member, Evidence Technician, or Department Tactical Training Officer. Some even share their career goals of becoming a Sergeant, Lieutenant, Chief Deputy or even Sheriff. In many cases, the goals are personal in nature such as becoming more efficient in their current duties or even focusing more on their own physical health. As in their professional goals, we in leadership must foster a department culture that allows each individual Deputy the best possible environment to be successful in those personal goals. Over the last year, we have engaged in a partnership with an amazing resource located right here in Northeast Wisconsin. The group is called the Wellness Coop and they are a team of dedicated professionals who focus on those who have dedicated their lives to the service of their Country, State, and Community. Recently a grant was made available by the State of Wisconsin Department of Administration to be used for both equipment as well as officer wellness, and we used that grant as an opportunity to solidify our commitment to our staff’s well-being by providing one on one wellness screenings for each member of our department.
On a broader scale, our department as an organization also has goals that it is looking to achieve in 2023. Of course, our most recognizable goal is the continued progress of our Jail planning as we continue in our now 7-year journey toward a better solution to the housing and care of those remanded to our custody. We are very grateful for the support and engagement we have received from both our County Board as well as so many community members throughout our community on this project.
Another goal for 2023 is the continuation of our county-wide multi-disciplinary Active Shooter training which we have been conducting over the past few years, in cooperation with our partners in both Fire and EMS. These trainings are very involved and start with preliminary tabletop discussions and then culminate in full scale reality-based scenarios at local facilities throughout Kewaunee County.
A goal that we had been working on for the past few years and will be taking a big step forward this year, is our Body Worn Camera implementation. This project started with our use of in-squad cameras, and through a recent grant was able to be expanded to body-worn cameras as well. Much like many of our other projects, we do our best to realize benefit to not only our agency but also to our criminal justice partners, such as other local Law enforcement as well as our District Attorney’s Office. I will be sharing more on this initiative in future articles as we move along the process.
In general, our agency is only as strong as the men and women who serve within it, and we must focus both attention and resources in that direction if we are to be successful in serving our community. We must also have the capacity to incorporate the best training, technology, and equipment if we hope to remain a credible and legitimate resource to our community in their time of need. It is through the setting and pursuit of realistic yet ambitious goals that we will be able to move our agency and the men and women who serve it, toward our true potential.
This is my last article in the series of annual report articles, and I hope you found them informative and helpful in understanding the operations of the Kewaunee County Sheriff’s Department. As always, if you have any questions on anything I have covered, or just want to chat, feel free to give me a shout. (920)255-1100. Thank you!