From Chief of Police

Gunlocks

The Kohler Police Department is reminding all those with firearms to use caution when handling firearms. Also, the Kohler Police Department continues to supply Masterlock trigger locks for all residents that want one. One free gunlock can be obtained from the police department just by stopping in. For those who have already obtained one in 2019, another can be obtained starting in 2020. In addition to the Masterlock trigger locks provided by the Kohler Police Department, a federal program, Project Childsafe continues to have locks available at the police department while supplies last. These locks are the cable lock variety and anyone may request up to three of those for their guns too.

Phone Scams

I have received information that the Village residents are getting calls from the Police and Sheriffs Association asking for donations. I just wanted to clarify that this group is not associated with the Kohler Police Department. We are not a member (if membership exists) and do not receive funds or training from their association. If you are interested in supporting area law enforcement with donations, I would encourage you to support the local Shop with a Cop Program or one of our K-9 Programs. Please feel free to contact me if you have any further questions.

Year End Report

Every year the Kohler Police Department submits a year end report to the Village Board. That report is open to all to read too and can be viewed by clicking here. Take a look and see what we have been doing for the past year. It has statistics on number of calls and types of calls, as well as identifying some of the special events that we participate in.

Vacation Checks

Don't forget that if you're planning to go away on spring break or at any time during the year, that you may have the Kohler Police Department check your house while you're gone. Residents can request a vacation check by clicking here, by stopping by the department, or calling. If you call outside of regular business hours you may leave a message too. In your message include your name, address, duration of your vacation, and any other pertinent information that we may need to know. Some pertinent information may include lights that are on timers, alarms, and names of persons that may stop by or key holders. Any other questions about this service, please call the department.

Prescription Drug Disposal

The Kohler Police Department has a secure drug disposal box in its lobby. The box is available for all prescription drugs and over the counter medication in their original containers. The box cannot be used for illegal drugs, needles, syringes, thermometers, or any hazardous materials. The box was obtained through a partnership with Sheboygan County to keep drugs from being flushed down toilets or dumped into landfills. Please utilize the box for any old drugs to keep them out of the wrong hands and to be disposed of properly.

School Reminders

Please remember to drive carefully on streets around the village. Parents please remind your young high school drivers that both the high school and elementary school share start and release times, putting them in the parking lot and on the roads at the same time. The speed limit is 15 mph when children are present in school zones. There is no stopping or standing of vehicles for the westbound traffic on School Street or on Church Street adjacent to the school. Parents dropping your children off in the morning please do so near a crosswalk so they can be helped across the street. Children crossing mid-block are hard to see and it is not safe. The safest location to drop off students is the northside of the school by the canopy.

   

Wisconsin State Statute 341.15(1m)(a) reads: Except as provided in par. (b), and registration decal or tag issued by the department shall be placed on the rear registration plate of the vehicle in the manner directed by the department. In this case the manner directed by the Wisconsin Department of Transpiration is shown in the picture to the right. Please remove all old stickers and have the month in the lower left corner and the current year in the lower right.

  

Boat, Camper, Trailer, Parking

No person shall park or leave any mobile home, camper, trailer, or boat and trailer on any street or highway that is not posted within the village for a period longer than 24-hours unless that person has obtained permission from the Kohler Police Department.

Newly Designed Squad Cars

The Kohler Police Department has introduced our new patrol cars, the newly designed 2020 Ford Explorer Police Interceptor. With the new model we have updated the graphics, emergency lighting, and interior space. 

We hope the graphics display a professional image while allowing the squad to be low profile while conducting traffic enforcement, but still visible when used in emergencies. This is accomplished by the reflective black on black chevron design on the rear, but the traditional black and white on the sides.

Bike Licenses Required

Just a reminder licenses are required and available for $2.50 each for any bikes with wheels larger than 16". The license allows officers to return found and recovered bicycles to their owners. You can stop by the Kohler Police Department or find the form on our web site.

The 2nd issue is the tinted covers on license plates. Wisconsin State Statute 341.16(2) reads:  Registration plates shall be attached firmly and rigidly in a horizontal position and conspicuous place. The plates shall at all times be maintained in a legible condition and shall be so displayed that they can be readily and distinctly seen and read.  Although there is some interpretation needed for this statute, Wisconsin Court case law has ruled that this statute applies to any cover placed over the numbers and letters of a license plate. I know they look cool, but please remove any covers over the license plate.

Walk with a Cop Program

The Kohler Police Department will be trying a pilot program of Walk with a Cop. This program is open to any village resident or person employed within the Village of Kohler. We will walk in the Village for 15-30 minutes. We will be prepared to talk about neighborhood issues, village issues, and policing in America.

We hope this program will allow us to better connect with the community. The Kohler Police Department is a reflection of values held by the Village of Kohler residents and its businesses and is only improved by open communication.

As part of the pilot program, we will be scheduling a limited number of walks Monday-Friday from 7am-6pm. If these times do not work for you, please contact our department and we will try and accomodate you. To schedule a walk, please click here and send us an email to express your interest.

Officer Schmitz Starts New Chapter

Please join us in congratulating and wishing the best to Officer Adam Schmitz as he starts a new chapter in his life. Officer Schmitz began his career with the Kohler Police Department in 2008. Besides patrol duties, he has served as the department's Defense and Arrest Tactics Instructor and Primary Field Training Officer. He completed the Detective Academy and also received certifications in Driving while Intoxicated Detection and Standard Field Sobreity Testing, Drugs that Impair Driving, Law Enforcement Emergency Response, Heartsaver First-Aid, Medical First Responder, Reid Technique Interviewing and Interrogation, Crime Scene Evidence Technician, and ALERT Training Active Shooter. We are grateful to Officer Schmitz for his service and contributions to the department and community and we wish him the best of luck in his future endeavors!

License Plates

There are a couple of trends that we would like to see not continue on license plates into 2020. 1st is the practice of placing the year sticker all over the license plate. This makes the plate hard to read for Law Enforcement. Also by the year sticker missing in the right corner, it would appear that the plate is not current as officers are scanning the plate. Keep in mind our officers scan hundreds of plates a year, so making it clear that your plate is valid is helpful.

Policing in America

After the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25, 2020 and the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha on August 23, 2020 many Kohler citizens understandably began to question policing in America.

It is important to the Kohler Police Department that we try to answer the law enforcement related questions asked by our community members. The main questions we have received have been about our use of force policies and de-escalation training. The second has been about systemic problems in American policing. After some reflection on our part, we hope that our answers can be used as a starting point of continued conversations.

To help answer the first question, we have published all of our use of force policies on the Kohler Police Department website. They can be found by clicking here. You will notice that policies have been recently published. This was not due to recent events, but as a part of a new and updated policy manual. The Kohler Police Department’s Use of Force Policy is consistent with most use of force policies found in the State of Wisconsin and is accredited by WILEGA, an independent law enforcement accreditation group. De-escalation training has always been part of law enforcement training and is taught to Officers throughout their academy and career. In the last decade there has been an increase in training focusing on mental illness or those experiencing a mental health crisis. This training is intended to help officers recognize contributing factors to threatening behavior and has reduced use of force incidents. Unfortunately, this does not eliminate the need for all use of force. If necessary threatening or resistive individuals may still be met with force to be taken into custody, to reduce the threat to themselves, others, or if statutorily required.

As we shift to talk about systemic problems in American policing, it’s important to note that police departments are not part of a national system; they are local, independent police departments. Although officers are certified through the State of Wisconsin, each department has their own culture, specific law enforcement priorities, and policies. With that said, the concept of a national systemic problem in American Policing seems unlikely. This does not mean that there are not police departments and communities that have a long history of police problems, however there are also a lot of excellent police departments serving their communities. Until the communities with police problems get involved, have conversations, and focus on facts and real statistics that affect them, there will be no improving those police problems. All police departments in the United States are accountable to their citizens through their locally elected officials. This is by design, and when used properly, this system is the most effective way to hold police departments accountable and make the necessary improvements. Local oversight and support is imperative to having a quality police department. When there is not effective oversight or support, we begin to see the tragic breakdown in the relationship between the police department and the community they serve. This is not a perfect system however it is the best system for community policing. For better or worse Police are a reflection of their community through their elected officials.

At the Kohler Police Department we believe we have a strong relationship with our community. It is our role to take police action on your behalf. We do not act independently but as part of the community. If you, as a resident or a person employed in the Village of Kohler, have any questions or concerns please don’t hesitate to reach out to your elected representative, a Village Trustee, or the Kohler Police Department directly. It is our goal to have every member of our community feel safe and have a trusting relationship with their police department.

Welcome Newest Officer Kevin Kost

The Kohler Police Department would like to announce our newest member Kevin Kost.

Kevin graduated from Lakeshore Technical College in May of 2020 with an Associate's Degree in Criminal Justice and has completed the 720 Hour Police Academy.  He grew up in the City of Kiel. In his spare time he enjoys exercising, golfing, and spending time with friends and family.

Kevin will be working with our Field Training Officers for the next few months before he starts solo patrol. Please stop him and say hi when you see him around the village.

Bike Safety Day Cancelation

As we emerge from the pandemic we are going to cancel this spring’s Bike Safety Day. We hope to have the event back in 2022.  If you have any specific questions on bike safety, please contact the police department and we will gladly try and answer your questions. 

   

The new lighting system is state of the art improving safety for the Officers and other motorists. This lighting system is now being used by most of our surrounding communities. It has different settings and responds to how the squad is being used. For example, it is more active when the squad is in motion, but more passive when the squad is stopped.

The interior space was redesigned to allow the officers to function more effective, and as a result, more safely. The prisoner space was also updated as required to store all the communication devices needed in modern policing.

If you would like to take a closer look at the squads, please contact the department or wave us down. We would be happy to share.