April 8 was his last day
By Bert Lehman
April 8 was Lorge’s last day as police chief as he moves into retirement.
Lorge spoke with the Clintonville Tribune-Gazette the day prior to his final day and reflected on his time as police chief.
“It’s kind of bittersweet,” Lorge said. “It’s difficult. It’s going to be hard to do.”
As his final day on the job approached Lorge admitted that retiring was more difficult than he expected.
“The big change of not having the position in the community where one day you’re responsible for the safety of the community and the next day you are just a guy walking down the street,” Lorge said. “That’s going to be a little bit of a change. I’m still going to want to get involved and do things. It’s kind of a whole life changing thing. I’m going to miss the camaraderie with the officers and the challenges every day. No two days were ever the same.”
Lorge initially joined the Clintonville Police Department on July 24, 1978. In August of 1995 he said he and James Beggs were asked to act as co-chiefs. At the time Lorge was an administrative lieutenant while Beggs was a patrol lieutenant.
“We both had the same authority to run the department until they (Police and Fire Commission) decided what direction they were going to go in to fill the vacancy,” Lorge said.
Lorge and Beggs were co-chiefs from August 1995 to May 1996.
“We talked every day, we worked together as a team,” Lorge said.
He added, “In May of 1996 I was officially appointed chief and I immediately promoted Beggs to administrative captain, second in charge of the department. We’ve been running it that way ever since.”
Lorge said he is proud of many things that took place while he was chief, including him and Beggs being part of the formation of the Waupaca County SWAT team.
“It was a joint effort in the county along with the sheriff’s department and a few other departments,” Lorge said.
Being able to get a new police station in Clintonville is something else Lorge was happy to be a part of.
“It’s not as big as we could use but it’s much nicer and user friendly than what we had,” he said.
The Clintonville Police Department moved into the new police station building in 2012.
Other accomplishments Lorge mentioned included the addition of mobile data computers in the department’s squad cars, in-car cameras so officers have video and audio documentation of their traffic stops and their calls to protect them, upgrading of the department’s weapons and tactical equipment, and the addition of the K-9 police dog.
One of the biggest changes that occurred during Lorge’s tenure as chief was information sharing after 9-11.
“It used to be you didn’t get much information from federal agencies,” Lorge said. “It was kind of a need to know thing. Since 9-11 we get weekly bulletins from Homeland Security, the FBI, U.S. Marshals, and DEA. Information is shared about anything that is going on in our region or in our state. Or things that are going on in other parts of the country that could develop here.”
Training requirements also became more stringent.
“When I went through the academy in the 1970s it was 240 hours. Now it’s 720 hours for officer certification, which is all good. There is a lot more liability and a lot more responsibility for the officers,” Lorge said.
When asked what he wants people to remember about his tenure as police chief, Lorge responded, “That I was a community person.”
He added, “I just hope that people are satisfied with what I did.”
Lorge said he plans on taking the summer off for the most part. He is a member of a committee helping to plan this year’s Iola Old Car Show. He is also helping plan the Spring Cruise Car Show in Clintonville May 20. In addition, he’ll do some work with the Museum of Drag Racing in Florida.
“Other than that I’m going to take the summer off and just do things around home,” Lorge said.
Lorge also shared some word about the community.
“I’d like to thank the community for letting me do this,” he said. “For allowing me to do this. It’s been a real honor, it really has.”