Committee updated on police agreement
By Ben Rodgers
Manawa’s Committee of the Whole got an update on a police agreement with the town of Little Wolf at the July 31 meeting.
Things have slowed down and neither Cheryl Hass, city clerk, or Jim Gorman, chief of police, has heard anything from Little Wolf.
“I can still write a ticket because I’m still a county deputy, but we should have some kind of resolution in place,” Gorman said. “What are they looking for? Do they want to do traffic? Do they want us to go to accidents? Do they want us to respond to domestics?”
The original discussion between Little Wolf and Manawa was about the Manawa Police Department policing County Yard Road, around where half is in Manawa and half is in Little Wolf.
At the end of May, Little Wolf officials said in a joint meeting that they would look into joining Northern Waupaca County Joint Municipal Court.
Once Little Wolf becomes a member, citations could be issued.
But Manawa Mayor John Smith said this could be about more than policing County Yard Road.
“I think that also deals with the mine out there and the dump truck traffic, and all the things going on with the town of Little Wolf and the county and possibly some repercussions with the actions,” Smith said.
He was referring to the Thiel Pit and American Asphalt’s hot mix plant that has upset some Little Wolf residents. There is an ongoing lawsuit between the town and the county, pit owners Dave and Sally Thiel and American Asphalt.
Gorman said the town may not understand the cost associated with contracting a police force.
“I don’t think they realize the magnitude of this and what it’s going to cost them,” he said. “Things are so expensive.”
He also said the extra workload could impact the department’s two new patrol vehicles.
“As a city, we just spent a lot of money on two brand new squad cars and if we throw that into their mix, that throws off my plan,” Gorman said. “Are these squad cars going to be around four years? Five years? Or are they going to be around less now because we are throwing them into a new jurisdiction?”
Hass said the town might be better off taking matters into its own hands.
“We do have two squad cars available right now. They could buy one,” she said. “Like Jim said, if they want to pay their own cops and everything, they could look at our part time pool and hire them.”
Discussion was tabled pending an update from Little Wolf officials.
The committee also tabled the purchase of two gas protectors at wells no. 2 and 3. The protectors would warn when there is a chlorine gas leak.
The cost would be roughly $2,200 for each.
“I believe, for the safety of everyone, it would be a good idea to get two of them,” said Cody Simonis, department of public works.
The idea was tabled pending more research and estimates, as Hass said the budget is tight right now and the only way to get the funds would be through an increase in water rates.
Smith, who previously worked at Waupaca Foundry, said safety is vital in confined spaces.
“You don’t want to be that person who has to make a phone call later,” he said.