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Middleton Police Department Works Closely With the Community to Maintain Safety and Trust

By Pamela Sosnowski

One of the most important things to consider when moving to a new town is the safety of the community and the relationship between law enforcement and its citizens. In Middleton, the local police enjoy a close, positive relationship with residents and operate several programs that help residents get to know their law enforcement staff and assist them in preventing crime.

"The mission statement of the Middleton Police Department is to 'make a positive difference in the quality of life in our community', says the department's Community Awareness Officer, Kim Wood. "We strongly believe that through the hard work and dedication of our employees and our continuous efforts to try to build the trust of our citizens, we are able to provide them with a community they feel safe in and a place they are proud to call home."

Pictured above is a group photograph of all MIPD employees.

The department's history can be traced to the mid-1800s, when the Middleton Detective Association was formed by town citizens to stop the theft of horses and mules. Members paid one dollar to join, with dues being used towards crime prevention initiatives. The association was disbanded in 1939 as the town's police force grew and several officers were hired. By the mid-20th century the department had appointed its first Chief of Police, Harold Wille. Today it employs 36 officers and receives over 20,000 calls to its dispatch center annually.

According to Wood, the department has been accredited through the Wisconsin Law Enforcement Accreditation Group since 2014. "Each year the police department must show that we are following 235 professional standards which have been established by this group; a feat only 25 law enforcement agencies in the State of Wisconsin have taken on and successfully completed."

Pictured above is the National Night Out Middleton PD table.

The officers and staff believe one of the best ways of preventing crime is to educate young people. The department works very closely with the town's schools, introducing students to programs that help curb drug and alcohol use, gang involvement, bullying, and other issues affecting children and young adults.

Additionally, the department assists the elementary schools with a Bicycle Safety program and provides families with information on the Safe Assured Program, which assists parents if a child goes missing. Two School Resource Officers and one Community Awareness Officer dedicate time to these programs.

"Ensuring positive interactions with our youth and providing them with lifelong lessons they can take with them is one of the many reasons we offer these programs," explains Wood. "We would not be carrying out our mission if we did not include ensuring a positive quality of life for the children in our community."

Pictured above is the "Shop with a Cop" event featuring the Middleton PD with kids.

Several events were designed to help Middleton citizens get to know their law enforcement better. Shop with a Cop, National Night Out, Family Safety Day, Citizens' Academy and Coffee with a Cop are among the programs that help people interact with officers and get to know them beyond the uniform.

Citizens are also welcome to apply for the department as a VIPS (Volunteers in Police Service) member. After a background check and training, VIPS assist police with local community events such as marathons and the holidays throughout the year.

As the department and community continue to grow, so does the effort to maintain mutual trust, according to Wood. "We understand there is an ever-growing need and desire for law enforcement to become more transparent for the public," she says. "As a result, we have purchased body cameras that will be issued to each officer for use during their respective shifts."

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