Chief: Extra Lake Hallie police officer will have big impact

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LAKE HALLIE, WIS. (WEAU) -- The Goodwill store in Lake Hallie is still less than a year old. But in that time, Mary Jarosz, a team leader, says they have not had many problems with crime.

But she is happy to learn the Village of Lake Hallie will be adding one more officer during the week and extra part time help on the weekends.

"It's nice to know we would probably have a better response time," she said.

The Village of Lake Hallie has been bustling, with businesses going up and more people moving in. And now, the village board has decided it is time to grow the police department, too.

"The call volume was getting more, the calls for service are increasing in the village and the need was absolute," said John Neihart, the Village President.

Chief Cal Smokowicz more than agrees. With just one officer on patrol around the clock, except from 7:00 p.m. to 4:00 a.m. when there are two, he says things have been stretched thin.

"We found ourselves many times not being able to respond to things we want to respond to because there's pressing matters," Chief Smokowicz said.

He says the Eau Claire and Chippewa Falls Police Departments have been helpful, but even crime from those cities spills into Lake Hallie.

Now, he is hoping an extra officer 8.5 hours a day, 7 days a week, will help everyone.

"I'm extremely hopeful and pretty confident you're gonna see a change in the way we can respond to people's complaints," he added.

Chief Smokowicz says it is the police commission that will be hiring a candidate, but he hopes someone will be in place by January 13th.

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