Thursday night’s police and fire commission meeting included all annual updates and year-end reports.
Lieutenant Gritzner (one of the greatest police lieutenants around) is researching body cams for all police officers in the Lake Geneva department. He’s reached out to multiple communities that already use them, including Whitewater and Town of Geneva, to discuss the pros, cons, and cost of using the body cams. The biggest problem with most departments is that the officers forget to turn them on. Most officers are seasoned veterans who have had the same routine for years and forget to turn on the new piece of equipment. The initial set up cost of the body cams is quite expensive at $44,000 for the department equipment, plus the cost of hiring a recording I.T. clerk. The department would need that new employee to download the videos and transcribe statements so they could be ready on a daily basis, and also used to honor open records requests. In the following years, following the purchase, the cost would be $19,000 plus the salary of the records clerk.
Right now, Lieutenant Gritzner is in the very early stage of researching the body cams and no action will be taken for some time. Gritzner also gave an update on the body found in the lagoon and stated that what happened there is still the subject of an ongoing and open investigation, but no foul play is suspected. Both the police and fire departments ended the year with the same number of calls as the year before, which was quite surprising because no one knew what to expect in 2020. Both departments stated that if Lake Geneva had held their big events, such as Venetian Fest, that they could have seen record numbers of calls and the department responding to incidents. Calls coming in for mental health were way up last year, which was to be expected with the unusual year 2020 brought. The police and fire departments have also started out with a busy 2021. During the first week of January, they responded to three overdoses and an OWI on New Year’s Day which turned into quite the chase. The Lake Geneva police officer was able to get the car and save the driver’s life, not to mention keeping all others on the road out there safer, as well. The fire department would also like to remind everyone to help clear the fire hydrants of ice and snow so their trucks have access to them if needed. Winter is when the volume of calls increases for the fire department, and every minute counts when there’s an emergency.
The road crew working out in front of Speedo’s Harborside Grill.
They’ve got Wrigley Drive totally wasted along its northern edge, as they dig down for seemingly never-ending fixes to the water lines. The good news is that it is being done in the dead of winter when business is at its lowest ebb. The bad news is that it is being done in the dead of winter when workers must suffer a whole lot of additional discomfort to accomplish the mission. Also, things like concrete and asphalt don’t set-up well in the colder temperatures, although this winter (so far) has been mild, temperature-wise, it sure doesn’t have to stay that way. There is also a vague political element to be discussed, whether true or not.
Speedo, the owner of the Harborside Grill, went hard against Tom Earle and the street department, with respect to the failure in the clearing of snow downtown a few weeks back. He filed a complaint and spoke rather harshly about Tom’s department and that department’s work. Now, he’s basically out of business while the area in front of his business, only in front of his business, is ripped asunder and kept asunder each and every day. Is there a correlation there? Is Tom Earle getting even? Speedo would never say, even if he thought that because he’s too much of a class act. The GSR staff drives by every day and wonders, however. Tom Earle is a bare-knuckle ruffian, which can be both a good and a bad thing, depending upon which side of the knuckles you’re on.