TOWN OF BELOIT

Longtime Town of Beloit Police Department command staff member LeAnn Jones says she is excited to lead the department as its new police chief with an eye toward preparing for the future.

Jones, who started as police chief Jan. 1, previously served as lieutenant and sergeant prior to her appointment as chief in the wake of the retirement of former Chief Ron Northrop.

Jones, 51, has worked in the department for 12 years, but her drive to work in law enforcement started when she was a teenager, she said.

The Minnesota native and mother of three started her work in public safety as an emergency medical technician and emergency 911 dispatcher before achieving her dream of joining the police academy. She was hired in April 2011 as a patrol officer and began working her way up the ranks from there.

“It was a lifelong dream of mine to be a police officer,” Jones said. “That was my time and my opportunity, and I took it. I had to try because it was always what I wanted to do.”

With so much command staff experience, Jones said she feels confident in her ability to help bring the department forward. But she can’t do that alone.

In an interview with Adams Publishing Group, Jones said she wanted to emphasize collaboration from the patrol officers and command staff to help find ways to improve the department.

“I wanted to give them that voice and that opportunity to be part of this process in growing our department,” Jones said.

And growth is what’s on the horizon. The department currently has two officers in the Blackhawk Technical College Police Academy and it is advertising to fill an open patrol division position. The department has a total of 11 sworn personnel and will be up to 14 once the open position is filled and the new trainees come into the fold.

One of the goals Jones spoke passionately about was having a total of four officers, including one sergeant, on every shift once all positions are filled.

“I am excited to be here and we have a great department and we are excited for the future and to see the department grow,” she added.

Later this year, Jones said she wants to return to in-person training events for officers. Jones and Deputy Chief Bryan Hasse both serve as instructors for a supervisor class for future Wisconsin police officers, and the training could soon return to in-person delivery, Jones said.

Jones said the department recently made plans to purchase two additional squad vehicles. The department is also considering moving its body camera server to cloud storage, Hasse said. Town of Beloit police have been outfitted with body-worn cameras since 2018.

Jones has a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice administration and is a graduate of the Wisconsin Department of Justice’s Command College, where she earned the Wisconsin Certified Public Manager designation.

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