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‘This has been the toughest year’: Appleton Police Chief talks challenges, new Assistant Chief

Local News

APPLETON, Wis. (WFRV) – Appleton Police Chief Todd Thomas joined Local 5 to talk about the new Assistant Chief and the toll 2020 has had on officers in the latest Community Update.

With Wednesday’s retirement of Assistant Chief Larry Potter, there was an opening to replace him and Chief Thomas introduced the new Assistant Chief. Thomas says that Polly Olson has been with the department for just over 20 years and it was a simple decision to name Olson as the new Assistant Chief.

Olson was born and raised in Appleton and is excited to be Assistant Chief in the city that she grew up in. She also described her professional history in the department, saying she has worked in a variety of departments and is hoping to serve as a role model for other women in the police force. Olson also hopes to help in recruiting efforts, whether that be women, people of color, or anyone suitable for the job.

With ‘Police Week’ happening, Thomas mentioned what the Appleton Police Department is doing to honor officers that have been lost in the line of duty. Thomas also mentioned that this year they are focusing on the families. On Wednesday night an honor ceremony was held and handed out awards to officers. Some of the normal events aren’t able to be held due to the pandemic.

Thomas also described how hard the past year has been on officers, saying in his 37 years in the profession this has been the toughest year. With the COVID pandemic, protests and the election, it all came together at the same time and made it difficult.

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