TWO RIVERS, Wis. (NBC 26) — Without enough employees, there's been a ripple effect for many police departments.
"It is a staffing shortage for us of course, but it's really a staffing shortage for everyone in law enforcement," Two Rivers police chief Brian Kohlmeier said. "A lot of overtime for officers to make sure that the levels of patrol are out on the street to keep the community safe."
Now, for the foreseeable future, those issues might disappear.
At Monday night's city council meeting, five new full-time officers were sworn into the Two Rivers Police Department. Kohlmeier says that number is unprecedented for his department. The chief says, as far he knows, five is the most ever at one time.
"Very lucky here to get a quality bunch of candidates and we're very excited to see them progress here at the Two Rivers Police Department," he said.
Kohlmeier says the new hires bring the department up to full staff at 27 full-time officers. Some former members joined other departments.
"We've had one or two of those over the last year and a half," Kohlmeier said. "We've had a couple of retirements."
He says some have left the profession in its entirety. But Zayla Mueller just joined as a first-time patrol officer.
"It was a desirable department that I wanted to go after, because I saw a lot of community engagement," she said. "And that's something that is extremely important to me."
"There isn't a day that goes by that someone isn't coming to our police department window and saying 'thank you for your service' or just telling us that they support us," Kohlmeier said.
Chief Kohlmeier is hopeful his team will stay fully staffed.
New arrivals like Mueller say they might stay in Two Rivers for the rest of their careers.
"Some things that I'm most excited for is just getting to know the community and building rapport with community members to better the City of Two Rivers," she said.