Turning in their badges: Local police department losing lots of experience with big time retirements

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CHIPPEWA FALLS, Wis. (WEAU) -- Four seasoned employees of a local police department are making plans to turn in their badges.

In just a few weeks, three lieutenants and one captain will cap off their careers at the Chippewa Falls Police Department.

Between the four of them there's more than 100 years of police experience.

And when they walk out next month, the Police Chief says the department has a plan in place to fill those important positions.

When Lieutenant Mark Hanson joined the force in 1982, the department’s patrol cars were humble Plymouth Gran Furys.

He said back then, they were just happy to get FM radio installed.

Now, patrol vehicles act as an office on wheels.

“Cameras, video, it's pretty phenomenal,” Lt. Hanson said.

Hanson, along with Captain John Lidell and Lieutenants Mark Bauman and Mike Farley will be retiring on Dec. 17.

“It wiped out the entire command staff 100 percent,” said Police Chief Wendy Stelter.

Chief Stelter said there's a plan in place to cover those vacancies.
She said they're currently looking at two promotions and two new entry-level hires.

“I have received approval at this point only two, because that’s all I have asked for at this point. But certainly I’ll be going back to the committees asking to be able to hire two more people so we can replace all four,” Chief Stelter said.

Lt. Hanson said he and the other retirees figured now would be the right time to end their careers.

In his 30 years on the force, Hanson said one of the biggest changes he's seen is the explosion of technology that criminals have taken advantage of.

“Technology has also been our friend at the same time and as long as we're able to keep up with it, it gave us the tools needed to better track those kinds of crimes,” Lt. Hanson said.

Looking to the future, Hanson said he wants to do something where he can put his decades of police experience to good use.

“I think it's also going to bring some stress relieve, I’m looking forward to that portion of it. I’m sure my family probably is too,” Lt. Hanson said.

Although they'll be losing seasoned employees and getting entry-level officers, the chief said the city will still be in safe hands.

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