Sheriff Brad Hardel will ask the county’s Personnel Committee if Weyauwega police officers would have to take a written test if the city contracts with the sheriff’s department for police services.
During discussion thus far on the sheriff’s proposal, the committee has said the same standard would apply to Weyauwega’s officers as to those who are hired by the sheriff’s department.
At an Aug. 5 meeting of the city’s Police Task Force Committee, Waupaca County Personnel Director Amanda Welch said those standards include state testing, psychological testing and a pre-employment physical.
However, the requirement that Weyauwega’s officers would again have to take the written test is being called a “deal-breaker” by the task force committee.
If the county says the officers must take the test, the proposal to contract with the sheriff’s department for police services will be off the table.
That was the consensus during last week’s meeting.
Mike Kempf and Jerry Juve serve on the Weyauwega Common Council and on the city’s Police Task Force Committee. Both said they do not agree with that testing requirement. Weyauwega Mayor Don Morgan feels the same way.
Three of Weyauwega’s four police officers already work water patrol for Waupaca County.
Ed Janke, who is Weyauwega’s interim police chief, sees the testing requirement as saying that the county is willing to work with Weyauwega, but it is “going to treat you all as baby cops.”
Janke was appointed interim police chief last fall after Curt Field resigned in September as police chief.
Last November, Hardel proposed the idea of the city contracting with the sheriff’s department for police services. Under his proposal, Weyauwega’s present four officers would become deputies of the sheriff’s department and members of the union. The four officers would be assigned to the city for a minimum of three years, with administrative duties being handled through the sheriff’s office.
Since being appointed last December, the Police Task Force Committee has been meeting at least once a month to consider the various options for police services.
The city previously had a full-time chief and four full-time officers, but the Common Council approved a new organization of the department last fall that would have resulted in one less full-time officer in 2010 to meet the budget. An officer would hae been laid off on Jan. 1. However, the council later rescinded that vote while discussion continued on police services.
Other proposals being considered include sharing a police chief with another community, contracting with the sheriff’s department for administrative duties only, and having three full-time officers and a full-time police chief.
Janke told the task force committee last week that the three full-time officers and a full-time chief option presumes there would be an internal promotion. If a chief was hired from outside the department, an officer layoff would be required.
The next meeting of the task force is set for 7 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 31, in the lower level of the Weyauwega Public Library.