Lodi’s newest patrol officer is a recent graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Platteville.

Kyle McCarty, 23, grew up in Tomah and graduated from high school there in 2014. He spent the next several years studying criminal justice in Platteville before coming aboard the Lodi Police Department. But McCarty has known he wanted to be a cop for a long time.

“I knew I wanted to be a police officer … since kindergarten,” McCarty said.

The only other profession he ever considered, McCarty said with a laugh, was to play professional sports in the National Football League.

McCarty, one of four siblings, said his family has a history of service. His father served in the military, as does his older brother stationed in Afghanistan. His other brother is a security guard and his sister teaches second grade in Madison.

He was drawn to the profession to help and protect others by performing the variety of functions required of a community patrol officer, including community relations and problem solving.

“These aspects really interested me,” McCarty said.

During his time at UW-Platteville, McCarty prepared for his profession by partaking in the Police Explorer Post. He said the post familiarized him with the rigors of policing through real-world experience.

He also interned at the Lafayette County Sheriff’s Department in 2017, and then went on to police academy to complete his training.

Interim Lodi Police Chief Wayne Smith said McCarty’s level of training, schooling and personality made him a standout candidate for the position, including his time at the Lafayette Sheriff’s Department as a jailer dispatcher.

“Him having that experience is a huge benefit,” Smith said and praised McCarty, saying he was “educated” and “well-spoken.”

Smith said the department is now nearing full strength. There remains one open position to fill, Smith said, a sergeant/lieutenant position, which will be done when a permanent chief is hired.

Smith has been acting as Lodi’s chief since he was contracted from the Columbia County Sheriff’s Department earlier this year in May. His contract extends through December.

Smith said he intends to apply for the permanent job.

He was with the Columbia County Sheriff’s Department for more than 20 years and said he never imagined leaving the agency until spending time in Lodi.

“I’ve gotten really excited about law enforcement again,” he said.

Smith was originally contracted to ensure the department remained operational following a slew of resignations struck the force’s ranks this year.

Resignations included the departure of former police chief Scott Klicko, plus a lieutenant and patrol officer. That reduced Lodi’s police numbers to about half its normal count.

McCarty’s first day was July 8.

Since then, McCarty said he’s been learning the geography of the city and has been meeting with business owners. He spent time policing the Lodi Ag Fair recently and had the chance to see a lot of new faces.

McCarty – who said he enjoys the small town atmosphere – is impressed with Lodi and its citizenry.

“It’s definitely a community that I would recommend living in,” he said.

McCarty said his number one quality is his outlook on life and his eagerness to begin the profession he’s dreamed of since childhood.

“I bring a good working attitude,” McCarty said. “I’m excited to start my career … and meet new people.”

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