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Kenosha Police Department swears in 10 new officers
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KENOSHA POLICE DEPARTMENT

Kenosha Police Department swears in 10 new officers

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Kenosha police gained 10 new officers this week as they were sworn in during a special ceremony during a meeting of the city’s Police and Fire Commission.

The ceremony took place at City Hall on Monday where Eric Larsen, interim police chief, welcomed and presented the newest members of the police department with their badges.

Their employment comes amid a continued trend that has seen fewer law enforcement officers hired over the last several years locally and nationwide. The department is also working to recruit a diverse force, as the Kenosha community continues to grow and change.

"I got on in June of 1992 so I'm almost at 29 years at the end of the month. I personally have never seen morale be this low in the department," said Jim Calvino, president of the Chicago Police Sergeants Association. Calvino says that low morale is helping to push a surge of retirements and recruitment troubles for Chicago PD. Calvino: "When I first got on, we marked our seniority basically, on our left sleeve of our outer garments. A star means 20 years. When I first got on, I'd see guys with a star, a bar, a second bar, sometimes even two stars. Now guys are leaving. They're leaving. They just can't deal with it any longer."According to the Chicago Sun-Times, 560 officers retired in 2020 as part of a 15% rise in retirements. That follows a 30% increase in retirements in 2019. Calvino: "We are now about a hundred sergeants short on the street. Supervisors need to be at a 10-to-one ratio one sergeant for 10 officers by the end of 2021. I'm getting feedback from sergeants saying they're supervising 20, 25 officers. There's no way you can, in good faith, say I am able to supervise that many people."And Chicago isn't alone. There are documented staffing shortages in New York, Baltimore and Minneapolis. The Philadelphia PD has more than 260 vacancies and the number of planned retirements for the department is about six times higher this year than last year. The Fraternal Order of Police President in Philadelphia told Newsy, "Were approaching a crisis with staffing levels. Its the perfect storm of several hundred officers retiring or leaving the job in the city for higher pay and less crime out in the suburbs."Part of that perfect storm is COVID. More active-duty officers died of COVID in 2020 than all other causes combined...including car crashes, heart attacks and being shot to death.Calvino: "The department wasn't prepared with equipment for us. And that really showed us officers, 'Well, who's got our back?' You know, we're out there protecting, but who's going to protect us?"Police unions and officers also point to some police reform measures that they believe make it harder to recruit. In Philadelphia, there's a new residency requirement that says potential officers must live in the city for a year before they can enter the academy with the intention of building a more diverse department and hiring officers that are better acquainted with the community they serve.But the FOP president told Newsy the law is impractical because potential hires are "not guaranteed a job or a slot in the academy."In Colorado, a long list of state-wide police reforms includes a ban on qualified immunity that shields cops from lawsuits. And while many departments in the state have not suffered a mass exodus of officers, one county sheriff said, "risks of civil litigation were among the top concerns" during exit interviews. "If there's a failure to retain bad officers, or recruit officers who don't want accountability? Good riddance," Mari Newman, Colorado civil rights attorney, said. Newman represents the family of Elijah McClain. McClain was killed by the Aurora police department in 2019. Newman: "If there are officers who don't want to continue to work in law enforcement, because they'll be accountable for their actions, those are not officers we need."The Chicago Police Department has been under a consent decree since 2019 to reform the department. For Sgt. Calvino, he says he welcomes reform and officers who want to do the job the way it should be done. Calvino: "I got a call the other day from somebody in Philadelphia, telling us, we should go on strike. And I almost threw the phone across the room. How dare someone say that? Who's gonna protect that person down the street? It could be your mother, my mother, your father, my father. That's my job. That's what I signed up for. And I took an oath to do that. And I would tell the prospective officers out there that, you know, it's a noble job. You go through life, helping others that can't help themselves."

The new officers are:

Arturo Burgos-Gutierrez, who holds a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Aurora (Ill.) University. Burgos-Gutierrez served in the U.S. Army as a combat engineer. He was most recently employed at Northwest Community Hospital in Arlington Heights, Ill.

Jake Mathews, a Bradford High School graduate, who holds an associate’s degree in criminal justice from Gateway Technical College. He most recently worked as a loss prevention employee at Woodman’s Food Market in Kenosha.

Jacob Burgess, a graduate of Indian Trail High School and Academy. Burgess served in the U.S. Marine Corps as a military police officer and has attended college at San Diego (Calif.) and North Hennepin (Brooklyn Park, Minn.) community colleges.

Cian MacDonald-Milewski, a graduate of Burlington High School and soon to earn a master’s degree in criminal justice from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. He was most recently employed in the millwork department at Menard’s.

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John Diaz, who holds a bachelor’s degree in criminology and law studies from Marquette University. He most recently worked as an intern with the Milwaukee Police Department and speaks fluent Italian and Spanish.

Eric Shupryt, who earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Illinois State University and a master’s degree in forensic psychology from the Chicago School of Professional Psychology. He was previously employed as a laborer for Voxtract, LLC.

Andres Colon, who earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Westwood College in Chicago. He most recently worked at the Kenosha County Sheriff’s Department as a direct supervision officer.

November Keaskowski, who holds a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and a minor in psychology from Trinity International University in Illinois. She was most recently employed at Tremper High School as an assistant cheer coach and completed an internship with the Lake Forest Police Department.

Cody Williams, who received a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice with minor in political science from Texas State University. His most recent job was with Cutting Edge Landscaping and Lawn care in Cedarburg.

Joshua Sylvester, who has attended Wayne County Community College working toward a general associate degree and earned credits in climate control technology at Northwestern Technological Institute.

The officers will begin police academy training Monday at Gateway Technical College and are expected to graduate Dec. 23 following a three-phase program, according to Lt. Joe Nosalik, police department spokesman.

The officers are required to undergo 720 hours of training in accordance with requirements set forth by the state’s Law Enforcement Standards Bureau. They will complete courses encompassing topics, such as, patrol, investigations, physical fitness, emergency vehicle response, sensitive crimes and tactics, among others.

“Once they graduate they will return to us to begin field training, which is done in five steps,” said Nosalik. “Each step is roughly 24 working days, provided they pass all of the training tasks.”

The officers are expected to then start “solo patrol” as early as next summer, he said.

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