Deputies patrol township as local officers learn the ropes

By Jennifer Eisenbart

Staff writer

A new era of policing for the Town of Burlington officially began Oct. 3.

Seven members of the former Town of Burlington police department – Steve Miller, Jon Bechman, Kelly Goetzke, Randy Nelson, Mike Peterson, Steve Roanhouse and Jon Massie – were sworn in around 2 p.m. that day by Racine County Sheriff Christopher Schmaling.

The handoff of power was scheduled for Oct. 1, with     deputy sheriffs patrolling the area for now.

“All seven have passed the county’s requirements, all seven have been sworn in as deputy sheriffs and all seven are actively involved in their training,” Schmaling said.

Right now, none of the officers are patrolling in the Town of Burlington. They are learning other areas of responsibility within the county.

“They will be back in the Town of Burlington,” said Schmaling. The officers will be able to pick their shifts based on seniority starting Jan. 1.

“At the end of the year, they’ll be put into the shift-picking group,” Schmaling said.

Schmaling said the transition has gone smoothly, and the reports he is receiving from his training officers indicates all seven are doing well.

“They’re certainly meeting and exceeding our expectations,” the sheriff said. “We’re not training these guys to be law enforcement officers. We’re training them to do our paperwork, our methods, our policies – and more importantly, learning more about Racine County.”

The seven officers are working in various areas. For example, last week, Massie and Nelson were performing duties in the Village of Waterford.

“There are certain things that communities expect,” Schmaling said. “Those are the things we’re training them to do.

“They need to learn what the community expects out of them, and what we expect out of them,” Schmaling said. “At this point, they are doing an excellent job.”

After swearing the officers in on Oct. 3, Schmaling said he told the seven that he wanted to give them the tools to succeed – but then it was the responsibility of the officers to use them.

“There’s a willingness to learn,” “We’re very proud to have them as a member of our team.”

Schmaling also said things are running smoothly with town Police Chief Mike Sevick working as the liaison officer in Town of Burlington.

There have been what Schmaling has called “minor” issues, but they have been resolved without incident.

“I can’t really even give you an example, because it’s been so smooth,” the sheriff said. “I’ve been very impressed.”

Sevick could not be reached for comment.