If Police Chief Brian Raupp can promise citizens one thing, it’s that he will wave to them every time he sees them.
It’s more than a friendly gesture. It’s part of the atmosphere he wants to cultivate between the police department and village residents.
Raupp believes that a visible and transparent police force deters crime and builds trust in the community.
He hopes to make himself accessible by hosting community meet-ups, such as the first “Coffee with the Chief” held Friday at The Haven Coffee Shop.
Raupp, who has been the police chief only a month, gave residents the opportunity to voice concerns or ask questions.
Many of the 10 to 15 people who attended expressed gratitude for the meet-up and welcomed Raupp to the community. Some raised concerns, including police visibility and the opioid epidemic.
Raupp said officers are trained to administer Narcan—a medication that reverses overdose symptoms—if they are dispatched to an opioid overdose.
Since he started in January, Raupp said he has spent time acclimating to Rock County’s court and law enforcement systems. He most recently worked as deputy chief of the Brodhead Police Department in Green County, but he spent three years as a part-time officer in Orfordville beginning in 2005.
With more time and money, Raupp hopes to have at least one Orfordville officer on duty every day. Rock County sheriff’s deputies cover the village when local officers are off duty.
One of the chief’s first goals involved meeting with Rock County Communications Center staff to review Orfordville 911 calls over the past few years. Raupp said the data helped him determine how to allocate his officers. He learned most calls come in between 6 and 11:30 p.m.
Raupp said he is willing to work nights and weekends if it helps him build a stronger police presence.
The police department began transferring its records management system to Spillman Technologies under Interim Chief Don Bomkamp. The new system will increase efficiency, Raupp said, because it will link to other law enforcement departments in the county that already use Spillman.
Raupp believes that supporting the village’s economy will help the police department and residents by widening the tax base. He served on the economic development committee in Brodhead and hopes to do so in Orfordville in the future.
“You have to be a jack of all trades when you’re the chief of a small town,” he said.
Raupp said people can share concerns with him by phone or in person while he is on patrol.
The Janesville City Council on Monday will update its economic development strategy, which was last reviewed nearly 20 years ago.
The policy is so old it focuses on retaining General Motors and landing one to two industrial projects within the community each year.
The GM assembly plant ended production in 2009, and the city now concentrates on commercial as well as industrial development, said Gale Price, economic development director.
“This policy provided a framework for the marketing efforts of the city, but after the closure of General Motors and the creation of a new strategy through the Rock County Development Alliance, the existing strategy became obsolete,” Price wrote in a memo to the council.
The alliance comprises the staffs of the cities of Janesville and Beloit, Forward Janesville, the Greater Beloit Chamber of Commerce, and the county, and it aims to develop the area post-GM, Price said.
The strategy, adopted in 1999, is a policy that gives the council and residents an idea of where the city is going with its economic development, Price said.
When talking with potential developers, city officials have used the outdated strategy as a launching point.
They then point to the Rock County Development Alliance’s more up-to-date strategy to illustrate Janesville’s economic development values today.
It’s past time the city’s strategy officially reflects that, Price said.
“We’ve really evolved certainly post-GM and certainly in the implementation of the Rock County Development Alliance (strategy),” he said.
The old strategy doesn’t consider suburban development or tax increment financing, a tool city officials often use to entice developers into building in Janesville.
The updated strategy will focus on these goals:
Despite being outdated for almost two decades, the strategy is an important guide for the council and residents, Price said.
“It’s a priority, period, but the challenge is we were focusing on the implementation, and we really just didn’t take the time to say, ‘We need to update this,’” he said.
The updated strategy will offer an answer to anyone who questions why staff spends time on a certain avenue of economic development, Price said.
“The strategy really lays out the groundwork for, ‘Do we spend staff time on this? Is it worthwhile?’” he said.
City Manager Mark Freitag has identified other old policies that need updating in the near future, Price said.
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