Lake Hamilton making changes, fighting to keep police dept. after scathing report

Lake Hamilton making changes, fighting to keep police dept. after scathing report (Image 1)

Lake Hamilton residents hope planned changes will help them keep their police department.

This comes after the state attorney wants the department shut down if it can’t bring operations up to date. A report said the department botched a sexual battery case. It also pointed to a felony child abuse case that was nearly ignored.

“I’m hurt. I’m disappointed but I still think we have a good town here,” Mayor Marlene Wagner said. “I think you saw tonight our people feel comfortable with our town and give us a chance to rebuild our police department and then come back and criticize if we are not doing right.

Police Chief Lyle Jagniszak made his first public comments since the report was released Thursday night. “While I greatly disagree with most of the opinion, I tend to agree we need additional training, as do all agencies large and small,” Jagniszak said. “It took decades to get here and it will take some time to get to where we need to be.”

The chief listed several things he purchased since the investigation, including a gun safe and an evidence locker. But he said he needs time to make additional changes.

Meanwhile, the town council voted to begin the process of searching for consultants and determining what it would take for Polk County to investigate the town’s major crimes. “Investigating major crimes requires a high level of experience and expertise. I think that the county can provide that to us. We are already paying for that in our tax dollars,” council member Barrett O’Neil said.

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