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Sheriff and police chiefs talk up their departments before La Crosse County policing study group



La Crosse’s sheriff and two local police chiefs became salesmen on Tuesday, to sell a study committee on the value of local law enforcement. 

The La Crosse County Study Committee on Policing met Tuesday for just the second time, to hear Sheriff Jeff Wolf and the chiefs from Onalaska and La Crosse talk about their officers. 

Chief Shawn Kudron of La Crosse said his force is busy trying to provide assistance to the unsheltered who may stay in Houska Park this spring and summer.

“That’s a community situation, a lot of service organizations,” said Kudron, pointing out that his NRO (Neighborhood Resource Officer) Unit is “very much involved in that, in terms of trying to figure out how to essentially assist but also to connect dots.”    

Kudron says La Crosse Police received 55-thousand calls for service in 2021, which averages out to about 150 a day.  He expects to fill 13 positions this year, as a result of retirements and other departures.

Onalaska Chief Chuck Ashbeck said his city council recently increased the size of the police force there, by adding three new officers to the 28 which had been the limit for about 20 years.

Sheriff Wolf says his officers try to be active in the community when they’re off-duty.

“There’s over 80 local community organizations that my staff volunteer their time to be a part of,” says Wolf, such as Steppin’ Out in Pink, Scouting, Boys and Girls Club, and churches.   Wolf also spoke about the sheriff’s department services including the boat patrol, and events that they provide enforcement for, such as Oktoberfest races and Country Boom.          

The policing committee had its first monthly meeting in March, and may continue meeting through the next year or two before issuing a report.

A native of Prairie du Chien, Brad graduated from UW - La Crosse and has worked in radio news for more than 30 years, mostly in the La Crosse area. He regularly covers local courts and city and county government. Brad produces the features "Yesterday in La Crosse" and "What's Buried on Brad's Desk." He also writes the website "Triviazoids," which finds odd connections between events that happen on a certain date, and he writes and performs with the local comedy group Heart of La Crosse. Brad been featured on several national TV programs because of his memory skills.

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