TWO RIVERS, Wis. (WFRV) Despite being caught up in the middle of a pandemic, it’s business as usual for police departments across the country.
Chief Brian Kohlmeier with the Two Rivers Police Department says his officers are doing everything necessary to prevent the spread of Covid-19. That includes limiting contact with one another, having constant communication with local health officials, and eliminating face-to-face meetings.
However, there’s plenty of great things the department is doing to engage with the public – safety being the top priority. When it comes to the possibility of an active shooter incident, Chief Kohlmeier says all the agencies across the area are on board to respond appropriately.
“Here in Manitowoc County, I’ve been working with a team to coordinate all the county-wide training when it comes to being prepared for violent encounters,” he said. “We’ve been doing this for the past five years. We’ve done full-scale, large-scale exercises. We had one in Valders a number of years back. Now, the RTF training or the Rescue Task Force training, is what we’re focusing on this year.”
Meanwhile, the department has offered a criminal justice elective course for high school students since 2004.
“It gives a chance for people to get familiar with law enforcement,” said Kohlmeier. “All the ins and outs of crime scene investigation, and handling accidents, and responding to calls and all sorts of things. The other neat thing is that we poll from those kids and those students to become officers in the future.”
Engaging with the community is something that Chief Kohlmeier is trying to do more of. Sworn in as chief in February after spending nearly 30 years total with the department, he wants to focus on the positive things his officers do throughout the area. One of those events, is ‘Cops N’ Cones.’
“Cops N’ Cones is a program that was put together by our crime prevention committee,” Kohlmeier said. “Their title is Cool City Crime Prevention – of course we are the coolest spot in Wisconsin supposedly. We team up with the public schools and our parks and rec. department to participate in their family nights, and we have officers there and we hand out free ice cream! It gives us chance to interact with kids and their families, play games, and have a real nice, positive interaction with the community.”
Another program created by one of the department’s school resource officers is ‘Lunch with the Police,’ rewarding kids in the area for their good behavior.
“[It] gives [the kids] a chance to come to the police department to have lunch with the chief and other officers and supervisors,” Kohlmeier said. “The first thing they do is pick up the kids in a D.A.R.E. car, and they drive them to McDonald’s to pick up a happy meal. [They] bring them over to the police department, and again they have lunch with me and the rest of the officers. They have a chance to play with the lights and sirens before they head back to school.”
These events are currently in jeopardy with the recent Coronavirus outbreak, but have proven to be a success for the department in the past.