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La Crosse police need to deputize blue baby

Rick Solem

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We’re crawling — or maybe creeping — near the one-year anniversary of blue baby being hatched in La Crosse.

If you haven’t seen the German artwork named Hatched Baby yet, you’re really missing out on something … unique.

In that time, baby has survived a hot summer and one of La Crosse’s coldest of winters, not to mention being punched by a guy who had too much to drink.

Who knows what his problem was with baby? Some people don’t like her full set of teeth.

As for who does love baby — the boys in blue, the La Crosse Police Department. She’s become its unofficial mascot, especially on social media.

“When Chief (Ron) Tischer said that he needed more boys in blue, this isn’t exactly what he was talking about,” La Crosse Police Captain Jason Melby said. “That was the springboard for us looking at doing (social media) posts.”

Despite its rousing success at getting attention for police, Melby said there are no plans in the works for deputizing baby.

“The idea of having him (her, Melby, she’s a girl) being an honorary police member?” Melby said. “No, that hasn’t crossed our minds yet.”

If you read carefully, however, Melby did say “yet.” He also noted deputizing baby would be more something the La Crosse County Sheriff’s Department would do.

Details aside, perhaps on the one-year anniversary April 4 of Hatched Baby, police could have a deputizing ceremony for their girl in blue.

“We could explore that,” Melby said.

Hatched Baby was created by German artist Wolfgang Auer and came from La Crosse’s sister city of Friedberg. Before being in La Crosse, though, she was on display at an arts center near Cincinnati, Ohio.

Since she’s been in La Crosse, baby really hasn’t been messed with.

“It is a little surprising,” Melby said, “but, at the same point in time, there seems to be some genuine enjoyment.”

When people first got a look at baby in La Crosse, “enjoyment” would not be the best word to describe her. “Screeching to a halt at that three-way intersection,” may be a better way to describe what people do when they first see her.

She does, however, sure get people talking.

Putting her outside City Hall and the police department — whether that was by design or not — has helped keep the incidents with baby to just one.

“There’s no doubt,” Melby said, “especially given the fact that our back ramp is under construction, that all of our squad cars being parked over on Sixth Street has helped insure the safety of the blue baby.”

As for that incident. The guy who probably had too much to drink and punched baby in the head, did no damage.

After that, the police put a fence around it during Oktoberfest — in a post that went viral, locally. She has since been freed.

Melby loves what the art has done for the department’s social media and loves his baby outside the station. He did not say, however, whether or not he salutes her as he walks into work each day.

We have 1 true German in this town and we have to lock him up for @OktoberfestLaX . This just doesn't seem right! #Gemütlichkeit #DontMessWithBlueBaby

Posted by City of La Crosse Police Department on Thursday, September 27, 2018

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