State Patrol open house

As part of Saturday’s recruitment open house at the Wisconsin State Patrol’s DeForest post, a K9 unit was on hand, as various units set up shop to explain what they do to the public.

The Wisconsin State Patrol is ramping up its recruiting efforts.

As part of the push, the DeForest post at 911 W. North St. held an open house on Saturday to teach the public about its services and let attendees know about available career opportunities.

“What we’re trying to do is get the word out that we’re recruiting our next class of troopers,” said Lt. Edward Philip Witkiewicz, who works out of the Southwest Region Headquarters at the DeForest post. “We’re looking for anybody who wants a challenge, who wants a little adventure and can go anywhere in the state to provide law enforcement services.”

There are seven posts in Wisconsin, including the DeForest branch. Others are located in Waukesha, Fond du Lac, Eau Claire, Tomah, Wausau and Spooner.

The recruiting drive comes at a good time for the DeForest post, which is currently staffed with 55 officers. When fully staffed, the post has close to 75, according to Witkiewicz. The deadline for the next group of aspiring troopers is Jan. 12.

“We’re hitting all parts of the state,” said Witkiewicz.

Witkiewicz said the DeForest post has had to cover more shifts with voluntary overtime and by shifting resources from adjacent parts of the region.

A recruiting video was part of the open house activities. Troopers, inspectors, a K9 officer and drone pilot were on hand Saturday to meet with the public, along with members of the Dignitary Protection and Honor Guard units.

Witkiewicz said one of purposes of the event is to dispel some misconceptions about the state patrol and what it does.

“There’s an assumption out there that all we do is write speeding tickets and help to fix flat tires,” said Witkiewicz.

At Saturday’s open house, representatives of various State Patrol units set up shop to talk about what they do. Many provide law enforcement assistance around the state, including the mobile field force, a quick-response team that can deploy a large amount of officers to an area for crowd control, said Witkiewicz.

Also, members of the technical reconstruction unit were there, talking about how they help investigate bad crashes – some of which result in criminal charges. They usually assist the Department of Criminal Investigation in these events. Part of their work involves forensic mapping, which they’ve done in cases of missing people.

The SWAT team was also present. That unit usually helps with cases involving high-risk warrants.

Two pilots made an appearance, as well. One operates a drone, but the Wisconsin State Patrol also has a couple of planes for its air support unit. Both have mapping software and usually assist in search-and-rescue efforts.

The Dignitary Protection unit provides protection services for the governor, regardless of political affiliation, according to Witkiewicz. They facilitate visits around the state, country and the world for the governor.

Popular with visitors on Saturday was the K9 specialist and his dog. The K9 unit is used for narcotics and bomb detection.

For more information about applying for Wisconsin State Patrol career opportunities, visit wsp.wi.gov.

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