Shared police pays off for EL, HG

by Emmitt B. Feldner
of The Review staff

ELKHART LAKE – Shared police services with the village of Howards Grove have been advantageous for both villages so far.

“It’s been going pretty well this year,” Elkhart Lake Police Chief Michael Meeusen told the Village Board in his annual report Monday. “We’re definitely making an impact there. We’re getting more phone calls.”

The Elkhart Lake police began providing 10 hours a week of patrol service in Howards Grove last year under a contract between the two villages. Howards Grove also became a part of Elkhart Lake’s Municipal Court.

Elkhart Lake is showing a net profit on the service in Howards Grove, Meeusen said. In addition to the payment to Elkhart Lake for the patrol services, “the court is going to be where we’re going to see most of our profit,” Meeusen said.

He added that officials with the Howards Grove School District are interested in adding a police presence in schools there as part of that village’s contract with Elkhart Lake. Meeusen said that school officials will have to work with Howards Grove village officials to begin that process.

The total number of calls for service answered by his department rose for the third straight year, according to Meeusen. The total rose to 1,452 in 2017.

The department, with additional funds provided by the village, was able to add a second patrol offi- cer on Friday and Saturday nights in June, July and August. Meeusen said the effort proved beneficial.

“As for reducing overall crime or nuisance complaints, we were able to show no phone calls or in person complaints to officers about loud noise after bar close on S. East and Lake streets,” Meeusen wrote in his report.

He added that the additional patrol led to no damage to property or restricted parking complaints on summer weekends as well as an increase in operating while intoxicated arrests.

OWI arrests in the village increased from six in 2016 to 13 in 2017, according to Meeusen.

Meeusen also highlighted several high-profile cases the department was involved in last year, including an accidental drowning in the lake.

In another case, Meeusen said, his department assisted in the arrest of a man wanted for throwing gas-filled bottles at police in Seattle, Wash., during a May Day demonstration. The man was taken into custody in the village as Elkhart Lake police assisted the FBI and U.S. Marshall’s offices in Seattle in the case.

Village Administrator/Clerk/Treasurer Jessica Reilly reported that the village’s insurance premium is up by about $4,000, to $64,318 for the year.

She explained that part of that is due to insuring an additional patrol car for service in the village of Howards Grove. Also, the village is still carrying the fire department’s old ladder truck on insurance until the new one goes into service.

Trustees approved paying the insurance premium, but requested Reilly to investigate whether the old fire truck could be removed from coverage or if coverage could be reduced on the patrol car for Howards Grove.

Elkhart Lake-Glenbeulah Athletic Association President Josh Tegan presented his group’s annual report to the board.

The number of participants in ELGAA remain strong, with about 100 families involved. The group made several improvements at the June Vollrath Athletic Park, Tegan said, including a new scoreboard.

ELGAA also received a $5,000 grant from major league baseball’s Baseball Tomorrow Fund which it used for improvements on the softball field, Tegan added.

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