Boyd PD at the crossroads

Posted 9/22/21

Resignation by recent hire Kevin Hagmann brings recruitment issue back to spotlight An all-too familiar occurrence took place Monday September 13 at the Boyd Village Hall and regular board meeting. …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Boyd PD at the crossroads


Resignation by recent hire Kevin Hagmann brings recruitment issue back to spotlight

An all-too familiar occurrence took place Monday September 13 at the Boyd Village Hall and regular board meeting.

More specifically, the village board accepted the resignation of Officer Kevin Hagmann, hired last Spring. The motion was made by Trustee Casey Dorn and seconded by Gwen Krizan to accept Hagmann’s resignation. For the interim and pending replacement, law enforcement at Boyd will be carried out by Adam Kuechenmeister, Louis Eslinger, and Darryl Pries as full-time fill-ins from the departments at Cadott and Stanley.

Prior to Hagmann’s four-month stint with the Boyd police with a move up to Sawyer County, the local department had also lost Hagmann’s predecessor Tucker Tiege to Mondovi, Tiege being preceded in his departure by the loss of Hunter Imm to Neillsville, whom Tiege replaced. With the pattern of part-time officers leaving well established at Boyd and elsewhere in the area, it was time to potentially think outside the box, Chief Eslinger said. Compounding matters was the fact that there were few if any applications to be had. Meanwhile, three part-timers had been lost at Cadott, the same number as at Stanley.

“We’re all kind of in this boat together,” Eslinger said as a rare three-decade veteran of the local area. With the time to start preparing for the future now, whatever the solution might be shouldn’t be knee-jerk, Eslinger said.

hearing as Boyd joins other local communities suffering from an officer recruitment dilemma – high turnover. Deputy Clerk Jayne Geist filled in as minutes taker for Sandi Isaacs, who was out for the night. Photo by Joseph Back. “I’d like to actually request a budget hearing,” Eslinger said of officer hiring solutions. “It’s that time of year.” A budget hearing would allow for consideration of potential full-time benefits for officers that are shared between the three municipality area of Boyd, Cadott, and Stanley, with benefits and full-time status—but especially benefits—considered key to retaining quality police help. With each revolving door hire at Boyd, meanwhile, Eslinger said that a hiring cost of between $5,000 to $8,000 was incurred, this to complete mandatory psychological and other assessments prior to investment with police powers. So what about ticketing?

Chief Eslinger said he wants to move away from highway speeding to in-town ordinance enforcement, something that full-timers deal with daily, whereas less invested part-timers can leave to go to seed.

“I want to deal more with the in-town issues,” Eslinger said of department priorities at Boyd. But if you think it’s all about bleeding the taxpayers, think again: citations can be cancelled, with clean streets the ultimate goal.

“What I have done, because not everyone has a lot of money, is I ‘ll write a citation, but then if they take care of the issue, I’ll cancel the citation,” Eslinger told the village board at Boyd. “The main goal is really to get compliance, it’s not to ticket everybody,” he said. Conditional citations may be the nudge that some need to act, but Chief Eslinger shared that, “just being on top of it and working with them is what the priority is.” Which leads into the next topic: derby cars on city streets and village perceptions.

“A lot of people bought these vehicles with the intention of crashing them,” Eslinger said of smashed and/or unlicensed automobiles seen on resident properties from events at Jim Falls and elsewhere in the area this summer. With derby season over, here’s fair notice: it’s time to get cleaned up. Speaking of which, the tennis courts at Lotz Park could being turned into a Little League t-ball field. The Little League at Boyd was reported from the September Village Board meeting to be willing and able to donate $3,000 to the project, along with manpower. First though, the tennis courts would need to go, which led to more concrete issue from Boyd Streets and Utilities angle: was there rebar in the court floors?

“It’s going to take quite a few truckloads to get that out,” village employee Bob LaMarche said of the courts, with rebar potentially causing issues with city equipment. As such, it was decided to take a small corner out for test sample and then fill in with gravel if necessary. Other issues for the potential t-ball field at Lotz Park include the non-ideal location near concessions, a requisite fence, and “Let’s get some numbers and see what the bank will do,” President Geist said of donations from Northwestern Bank to village improvement.

In the meantime, there’s a potential budget hearing to think about, lest more good officer candidates, be lost, for lack of benefits—that and Cleanup Days coming in October.

“We could post it on the village website and it would be gone in a day,” one village board member said of a fridge the village was seeking to get rid of. Ground rules and human nature, meanwhile, were also considered. “Make it $25,” they said. “Free won’t go.”