Janesville15.4°

New Milton chief 'conducts' first day

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Stacy Vogel
August 19, 2008
— Jerry Schuetz is a man of metaphors.

The Milton Police Department, he said, is like an orchestra. Each section of the orchestra plays well, but all need to be reading from the same sheet music.


They also need a conductor. Thatís where Schuetz comes in.


Schuetz spent his first day as Milton police chief Monday. The department has been in a state of uncertainty since December, when former Chief Tom Gilland announced his retirement.


Since then, officers have endured months of speculation about who would be chief. The police commission initially offered an interim position to past Chief Terry Hawkins, who declined. Then it said Gilland might return to the post.


Later, the commission decided not to rehire Gilland and instead to hire Bob Roberts as interim chief.


Roberts organized the search process that resulted in Schuetzís hiring. The selection was announced July 14.


Schuetz came to Milton from the small city of Manawa, about 45 miles east of Stevens Point. He spent his first day on the job in Milton meeting his staff and city officials and going over department policies and procedures with Roberts, he said.


ďIt went by very fast,Ē he said late Monday afternoon, sitting behind his new desk.


Schuetz was selected from 37 applicants to head the Milton department. He has served as Manawa police chief and an officer in Appleton and the village of Maple Bluff. He also teaches criminal justice at UW-Platteville.


He doesnít yet have a specific plan for the department, he said.


ďThe first part of my job is going to be to assess where weíre at right now,Ē he said.


As part of his contract, Roberts was asked to create an organizational review of the department. The review isnít quite finished, and Schuetz hasnít seen it yet, though Roberts has briefed him on some elements, Schuetz said.


Roberts originally was scheduled to present his review at tonightís council meeting, but that has been postponed.


One police issue the council will discuss tonight is the police unionís contract. The city has left two officer positions unfilled since last fall as it tries to negotiate a new contract with the union.


It will discuss union negotiations in closed session tonight.


The open spots are an important issue for the department, Schuetz said.


ďI think all the parties involved are interested in doing whatís right,Ē he said.



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