Community Police Officers will build relationships with Washburn - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Community Police Officers will build relationships with Washburn Neighborhood

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LA CROSSE, Wis. (WXOW) – The La Crosse Police Department is putting two community police officers in the Washburn neighborhood.

It's thanks, in part, to funding from Viterbo University and Mayo Clinic Health System—Franciscan Healthcare.

Tuesday, Officer Dan Ulrich and Officer Nate Poke, the two community resource officers, got a first look at their base of operations on 10th and Ferry Streets.

They’ll have a very visible role in the community, said Chief Ron Tischer. Often walking, biking and driving through the neighborhood.

"That's there job: to build partnerships with the businesses, the homeowners,” Tischer said. It’s to revitalize the community and make everyone feel safer.

"Quality of life,” said Officer Dan Ulrich. “I want to increase it. I want to make it where people feel safe day or night."

The officers will be funded for three years by a $375,000 grant from the Department of Justice, and $75,000 each year from Viterbo University and Mayo Clinic Health System. Both are in the Washburn neighborhood.

The officers also have close ties. Ulrich said he has already worked closely with the Washburn Neighborhood as their patrol officer for more than five years.

"The Sara Hougom homicide. That was my call,” Ulrich said. “So I've shared the Washburn Neighborhood's pain, personally."

"It's really focused on building relationships. That’s the key to the success,” said Mayor Tim Kabat about the community officers.

From a city perspective, Kabat said these relationships will build trust with officers, ultimately leading to more effective policing.

"They know that they can raise concerns and voice those concerns because they know who the officers are.... it leads to safer areas and just better neighborhoods,” Kabat added.

Officer Ulrich began his role as a community officer earlier this month. Officer Poke will start later this week. The city and police department are looking to raise money to put four more police officers in the community. The plan is to put two on the lower north side and two in central La Crosse.
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