Sheriff's Deputies, DNR Wardens Finish ATV Training in Clark County

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When Deputy Brian Popp studied snowmobile patrol operations last winter, he wanted his Michigan-based teachers to come to Wisconsin and talk ATV enforcement, another part of his job description as Clark County's Recreation Officer.

"Wiith all of our cabins and stuff like that, you can access them through ATV trails."

The idea spurred interest from more than a dozen others in the department, and some DNR wardens to boot.

During the four days, Deputy Popp and company spent almost 50 hours learning in motion.

"We train as we're going to operate in the field," said instructor Garry Forman.

Many of their exercises represent encounters with armed suspects, the kind of thing most of them could go their entire careers without experiencing.

Although their counterparts in Sawyer County did when six hunters were murdered on November 21st.

"All these techniques and skills would have been useful in that situation," Deputy Popp said.

Because their ATV's aren't really souped up, the officers don't expect to catch everybody on a straightaway, it's the twists and turns of the trail system where they expect to make their move.

"Our agencies work with the budgets that we have and we try to keep officer safety as a priority and the public's safety as a priority," Forman said.

Deputy Popp and his collegues fought off stress and fatigue through the exercises before taking a final exam.

"We learned a lot of different driving techniques," Deputy Popp said.

"I think it's an excellent program that everyone in our position should have."

Not to mention the fact that it allows them to master skills they'll hopefully never have to use.