Two more openings are expected at the Lodi Police Department by the end of the month with both the lieutenant and an officer leaving following Police Chief Scott Klicko’s resignation.
The City of Lodi announced his resignation on April 25, where he stated he was resigning to pursue other opportunities in law enforcement. Klicko served as the police chief for four years and has worked for the department since January of 2012.
The Lodi Police Commission then approved Lt. Craig Freitag as interim police chief after a closed session meeting April 30.
Freitag said in an email May 1 he did not officially accept the position of police chief at that time. On May 2, Clintonville City Administrator Sharon Eveland announced on Facebook Freitag had accepted the position of police chief for Clintonville. He is expected to start May 29.
Along with Freitag, officer Michael Andrews has also resigned to start a position in Sauk Prairie, which leaves Freitag and three other officers until the end of May.
Police Commission President Robert Westby declined to comment on the resignations. Mayor Jim Ness has previously declined to comment on Klicko’s resignation.
Lodi Director of Administration Julie Andrews said the string of resignations does not seem to be a coordinated effort.
“It wasn’t like everybody all of a sudden decided to leave at the same time,” Andrews said. “It was just kind of the way it worked out.”
She said officer Andrews has been looking for a position for some time now and Klicko was aware of this. The Columbia County Sheriff’s Department also patrols around Lodi and she said the city is able to ask for extra help with the recent absences but said Freitag is looking to have all shifts covered.
“They’ll have to have some overtime,” Andrews said. “Craig is very hands on and not afraid to pick up a spot.”
The police department is already looking for a replacement officer. The next steps will be to have the Police Commission work to find a new, permanent police chief.
The Police Commission met Wednesday, May 8 to discuss:
- Accepting an officer resignation
- Update on hiring a new police officer
- Contract with an interim position from Columbia County Sheriff’s Department
- Contract with a consulting firm to hire a police chief
- Legal representation for the Police Commission
The meeting took place after this week’s deadline. More information on the meeting will be provided next week.