Weather Forecast


City police add two full-time officers

The Hudson Police Department will add two full-time officers following approval from the Hudson City Council on Wednesday night, Nov. 5.

Council members voted to add one patrol-level detective and one patrol officer to the department, increasing the roster to 21 officers. The council also gave Police Chief Richard Trende permission to recruit "casual call" officers to assist part time with duties such as transporting prisoners, patrolling city parks and providing crowd control at special events.

The new positions will add an estimated $131,046 to the department's 2004 budget.

Each of the full-time officers will be paid an estimated $61,023 in salary and benefits (including family health insurance coverage) next year.

The council budgeted $9,000 for casual-call officers, estimating the cost of their services at $14 per hour, including the employer's Social Security contribution.

The impact of the new positions on next year's property taxes is expected to be 16 cents per $1,000 of valuation. That means the owner of a $200,000 house would pay $32 more in taxes, and the owner of a $300,000 house, $48 more, if the additional spending isn't offset by cuts elsewhere in the city budget or the increase in the city's total valuation.

The City Council's Public Safety Committee, comprised of aldermen Ronald Troyer, chairman, James Mayer and Dennis O'Connell, recommended the staff increase following a presentation by Trende at an Oct. 30 committee meeting.

Trende said the Hudson Police Department is understaffed compared to departments in 12 other Wisconsin cities of roughly the same population that he surveyed.

He reported that by the end of 2003, the city would have 1.78 officers for every 1,000 residents based on the current roster of 19 officers and a predicted year-end population of 10,650. The average ratio of officers to residents in the 12 cities he looked at was 1.95 to 1,000, he said.

With the two new positions, Hudson's ratio of police officers to residents will be roughly 1.97 to 1,000, according to Trende.

The new detective will be the first investigator added to the police department since 1989. Trende said the two detectives the department has now don't have time to adequately investigate all of the serious crimes committed in the city.

In a written justification for the new positions, Trende said that so far this year detectives have been busy with investigations of one attempted homicide, the 2002 murders of Daniel O'Connell and James Ellison, six robberies, numerous counterfeiting and identity theft cases, and several other major crimes. Within the past week, the department announced charges that a Hudson woman caused the death of her newborn child.

"Crimes are not addressed like on television," Trende wrote. "They require a lot of work, and we do not have the staff to address the major cases that we are responsible for. This (detective) position addresses a question of safety."

For more on this story, please see pages 1A and 4A of the Nov. 13 Hudson Star-Observer.

Randy Hanson

Randy Hanson has reported for the Star-Observer since 1997. He came to Hudson after 11 years with the Inter-County Leader at Frederic, and eight years of teaching social studies. He’s a graduate of UW-Eau Claire.

(715) 426-1066