Janesville70.3°

New chief shaking up Milton department

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Stacy Vogel
September 17, 2008
— Milton Police Chief Jerry Schuetz has been in his position only a few weeks, but he already wants to shake things up.

Schuetz presented a plan to reorganize his department at Tuesday’s city council meeting. The plan should make better use of the department’s resources and help it be more proactive in addressing community problems, he said.


It helps that Schuetz soon will have more resources. The city recently lifted a nearly two-year hiring freeze on the department, and the police commission promoted a part-time officer to full time to fill one of two open spots.


The commission is considering promoting another part-time officer, which would bring the department to its full staff of 10 full-time officers, including the chief. The commission plans to hire two new part-time officers to replace the promoted ones.


A full staff is key to Schuetz’s reorganization plan, he said. With 10 officers, he can assign officers to regular shifts. Each shift will form a “team” headed by either the chief, the sergeant or the yet-to-be-created position of lieutenant.


The teams will work together on everyday calls and focus on specific issues, Schuetz said. For example, the day shift might target traffic in school zones, the afternoon shift could coordinate community watch programs and the night shift could target drunken-driving enforcement.


“Each particular shift has an ownership,” Schuetz said. “They can be more deliberate and directive in their work—essentially more proactive than reactive.”


A regular rotation of officers also will help the community become more familiar with the officers, he said.


Schuetz put his proposal together based on talks with interim Chief Bob Roberts and his own observations, he said. Roberts was hired, in part, to conduct a departmental review. The city expected to receive the review at the end of Roberts’s tenure in August, but it still isn’t ready.


Schuetz declined to go into detail about what he and Roberts talked about until the departmental review is released.


“We put our heads together and put together what I think is a good proposal,” he said.


The proposal includes creation of a lieutenant position to be second-in-command to the chief. The lieutenant position would replace one of the two sergeant positions under the current structure.


Schuetz said he’s not sure how the reorganization would affect the department’s budget. Part of the answer depends on contract negotiations with the police union, he said. Officers have been working under an expired contract since the start of 2008.



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