Getting to know local emergency services and their positive impact on the community (Part I)
By Craig Marx, Editor
Our local law enforcement and emergency services work around the clock to help protect the citizens of Antigo and Langlade County, often times under intense pressure or unneeded scrutiny. As we honor these brave men and women in this issue, take a moment to hear from Chief of Police Eric Roller, Sheriff Mark Westen and Fire Chief Jon Petroskey on how they became active in their emergency service positions and what their roles and responsibilities mean to the community.
Chief of Police Eric Roller
Q) When a man or woman enters the world of law enforcement, what are the special skill sets that a person either has or will learn over time? Does being a police officer change someone as a citizen?
A) We are looking for people that are well educated, have a good personality, common sense and have a good personal background. I believe a lot of the direct skills of a law enforcement officer can be taught either at the recruit academy or a good field training program. I believe police officers see a lot of bad situations over time and if not handled properly that may change the person’s outlook on people.
Q) In your experiences in law enforcement, what are some of the professional sacrifices you’ve witnessed as both an officer and as chief of police that the average citizen may not realize?
A) I believe time is a big sacrifice from our officers. Between extra hours from filling shifts to coming in on days off for court puts added stress on our officer’s home life.
Q) How can the community be more proactive or aid local Antigo/Langlade County law enforcement in the future? What resources can citizens count on to make an effort to help?
A) We have been very fortunate in Antigo with the support of our community for our law enforcement officers. Obviously, everybody is not always happy with our decisions though we try to show professionalism, compassion, and doing the right thing. Getting involved in Crime Stoppers, being aware of what is happening in your neighborhoods and giving us a call if you see something out of the ordinary will always help us be more effective.
Q) Being in a visible leadership role, what efforts are made by officers to be positive role models in the Antigo area?
A) Our officers are involved in different functions in the community from service groups to church activities. Many of our officers are also involved in school activities such as coaching or chaperoning school functions. We also do many presentations within the schools and community.
Q) Overall, what are the key elements in community cooperation that have led to APD’s successes in the past?
A) Our success is attributed to the Mayor, Common Council and City Administration that have supported proactive law enforcement and our support from the school liaison office, DARE program, and educational presentations, the community as a whole who donated our K9 program, Crime Stoppers, and other programs and our partnerships with community-based programs.