A message from Ben Sauriol, Chief of Police
Hello Village and Winneconne-Area Residents!
By now, most of you have heard of the retirement of long-time Village of Winneconne police officer and police chief, Paul Olson. I would like to express my gratitude to him for his support throughout the years when I worked under him. With his retirement, I have been given the exciting opportunity to further my law enforcement career in our amazing community. Starting out at our department 20 years ago (May 2003) as a part-time patrol officer, I have moved through the ranks from a full-time patrol officer, to Sergeant, then to Lieutenant, and now, to the Interim Police Chief position. I have been a sworn officer since July 2000 when I started in Wild Rose part time.
It has been a fun, yet busy transition into this position, but I wouldn't have it any other way! I currently have two sessions remaining of Command College. Graduation is June 9th. Upon graduation, I will be a certified public manager. The knowledge gained in school has been amazing and I look forward to sharing what I learned with the team here at the police department to help the officers succeed which then helps the village.
I am currently working to get our department core accredited through the Wisconsin Law Enforcement Accreditation Group (WILEAG), to solidify my overall vision of how our department operates through the standards established by the WILEAG board. While this in itself is a lot of work, if successful, this will be the first time our department has held such an accreditation. Moreover, we may be the smallest department to be core-accredited when complete.
I have also been busy in strengthening current relationships, including building new ones, with entities such as the Lake Winnebago Area Metropolitan Enforcement Group (LWAM), a group of highly trained investigators specializing in drug enforcement in our area. A relationship with LWAM is crucial, especially with the emergence of more and more fentanyl in and around our small community.
As you might have seen this past month, I recently started a new community program called "Coffee with a Cop". Each month, I will be hosting a community meeting where I, along with members of our department, can sit down with stakeholders to discuss various aspects of our police department and issues within our community that might present themselves. It's a great way to keep our communication lines open and each meeting will have a general topic of discussion. Last month's topic was "ordinances". When the weather is nice, I hope to do a “Cookout with a Cop” in one of our parks.
If you can't make a monthly meeting, that's perfectly fine because my door is always open! If you have a question, comment or concern, maybe you just want to offer a compliment to an officer? You name it... I'd love to chat with you! I am currently scheduled to work Monday - Friday, 8am-4pm. My schedule will vary somewhat as I am filling a 12hr patrol shift here and there to help with the Village budget. While most of my working hours will be during the daytime, I will certainly be in for special events, along with assisting with some nighttime patrol coverage for a few hours when my schedule allows. After all, I didn’t get the nick name, “Night Ben” for nothing.
Thank you, Village of Winneconne, for this amazing opportunity. I look forward to what the future holds for our department, along with the new, exciting and innovative ideas that are sure to follow. Moving forward requires teamwork and the officers here at the Winneconne Police Department are working hard. They are dedicated to maintaining and improving the quality of life in the Village.
As always, we are here whenever you need us - 24hrs a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.