$8,000 needed for safety equipment
By Angie Landsverk
“These are the officers out on the streets every day dealing with these situations. We don’t have the proper equipment to protect them,” Interim Police Chief Brian Hoelzel said during the Aug. 9 meeting of Waupaca’s Police and Fire Commission.
Hoelzel asked the commission for permission to raise funds for the equipment, and the commission authorized him to do so.
He estimates it will cost about $7,900 for the equipment.
The department is raising funds, because the purchase of this type of equipment is not part of the department’s 2016 capital budget.
Hoelzel wants the squads equipped with the equipment as soon as possible because of what is happening in this country.
“Police are being targeted. Mass shootings,” he said.
He referred to incidents which took place last year in Neenah and this year in Orlando.
An officer in each of those communities had tactical helmets on their heads, he said.
“They got struck with a rifle round, and the helmet saved their lives,” Hoelzel said. “SWAT teams have this equipment. Officers on the road also need it.”
He said police departments in the Waupaca area have been fortunate.
They have received cards of thanks and appreciation, as well as flowers from the public.
Hoelzel said people continue to drop off notes and items.
Due to the support the local department is receiving, it decided to seek the public’s assistance in raising funds for the equipment, he said.
The tactical vests and helmets the department wants to purchase for its officer is a one size fits all type of equipment.
The adjustable equipment would be placed in each squad.
Bryon Gyldenvand, the chairperson of the Police and Fire Commission, said with the generosity of the community, he believes the department should be able to raise the funds it needs.
“I like the idea of public involvement,” said Commissioner Jim Schulz.
Hoelzel said some members of the department will also meet with local businesses to discuss the desire to purchase the equipment.
If the department falls short in raising the almost $8,000, it wants to be able to go before the common council.
Hoelzel said those who want to donate funds toward the cost of the equipment should write checks payable to the Waupaca Police Department and write “tactical vests and helmets” in the memo line.