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Thursday

September 2014

18

Higher police rank would mean more expense for participating communities

Sussex, Lisbon may want position elevated to captain's rank

Town of Lisbon - The Town Board unanimously agreed Monday to extend for three months the five-year contract with the Waukesha County Sheriff's Department, which provides 16 hours of dedicated police protection to the town for seven days a week.

Town Chairman Matt Gehrke explained that the three-month extension will give town officials an opportunity to decide whether they want to pay an additional estimated $15,000 to $16,000 annually to have deputies assigned to the town directly supervised by a newly created captain's position at the Waukesha County Sheriff's Department substation in Sussex.

The town currently pays about $400,000 a year to the Sheriff's Department to have deputies dedicated to patrolling the town for 16 hours a day, seven days a week. The contract was scheduled to expire at the end of the year.

The contract provides the deputies will be supervised by watch commanders who are assigned to the Sheriff's Department headquarters in Waukesha and are also responsible for supervising other deputies on duty throughout the county.

The Village of Sussex has proposed that the Sussex substation command position be elevated from lieutenant to captain. Waukesha County Sheriff Dan Trawicki said he is willing to consider the proposal if the municipalities will pay for the cost of the new position.

Sussex officials are awaiting decisions from the Village of Merton and Town of Lisbon regarding whether those municipalities want to share in the cost.

Sussex Village Police Services Director Lt. Torin Misko is expected to be promoted to captain if the proposal is approved.

Lisbon Town Supervisor Joe Osterman, chairman of the town's Public Safety Committee, said the additional costs are justified.

"In addition to giving us someone who is dedicated to supervising our deputies, we are also getting someone who is local, someone who is intimate with the operations of Sussex and Merton, and someone who has the rank of captain and who can make decisions," Osterman said.

The commanding officer at the substation is also responsible for supervising the deputies assigned to provide the Village of Merton with eight hours of police protection per day during weekdays.

Sussex officials want the position elevated from lieutenant to captain in order to reduce turnover in the post.

Misko, who has served as the village's police service director for less than a year, is expected to be promoted to captain in the near future because of a number of retirements by senior officers in the department.

Misko's predecessor, Deputy Inspector James Gumm, served as Sussex police services director for four years before he was promoted to captain and assigned as second-shift commander.

Village officials have said publicly that they want the police services director to serve for a longer term in order to become more familiar with the village and law-enforcement challenges in the region.

When Misko was interviewed as a candidate to replace Gumm, some village trustees reportedly privately expressed concerns that he was likely to be promoted captain soon, and those trustees were reluctant to hire him.

Since then, Village President Greg Goetz and Village Administrator Jeremy Smith suggested the best way to avoid the rapid turnover in the position would be to elevate it to the rank of captain.

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