Bayside Klawitter Officer talks about community, training on the way

In 2019, the Bayside Police Department announced myBlue, a neighborhood policing initiative that matches an officer with an area of ​​the village.

Officer Michael Klawitter said residents of Bayside who don’t have emergency issues, like a faulty microwave or a broken pipe in their home, often call the department for help. The myBlue program is designed to improve communications between police and residents by providing them with resources, advice and services for non-emergency issues.

Lt. Cory Fuller said the department received more than 200 calls from the myBlue sector this year. As part of the myBlue program, residents can request carpools with the agent assigned to their neighborhood. Fuller said the department averages three to five trips a year.

During a walk and interview, Constable Michael Klawitter detailed his initiatives as a firearms instructor, public perception of the police and more.

Bayside Police Officer Michael Klawitter is one of nine officers in the department.

Two police officers staff the service during a shift. They are assigned an area of ​​the village to patrol and are responsible for driving on each road at least once during work shifts.

During a recent walk around 1 p.m. on a Monday, Klawitter monitored the east side of the village. As he passed through Bayside, a population of 4,389, almost everyone who saw him waved at him.

Community awareness

Klawitter began his law enforcement career at Bayside in 2016. He began as a Field Training Officer and General Instructor before becoming a Certified Firearms Instructor. Her father was a detective for 32 years.

“I grew up with a family of law enforcement officers,” Klawitter said. “I think we are good people, so I want people to see the cops the way I do, that is, it was not just my family but my family, my friends and people who I grew up with who I grew up with.trustworthy and cared for.

Klawitter created the myBlue Trading Card Program and Contest which ran from late 2019 to February 2020. Agents handed out card games to children 12 and under. Each pack contained six cards of varying rarity that featured images and information about department staff and business sponsors. Gathering a complete set and bringing it to the department would award the collector a gift card or prize.

Bayside Officer Michael Klawitter started a collectible card program in 2019. Children who collected a full deck of cards featuring department staff would win a prize.

Klawitter said the idea to hand out police-themed collectible cards came from residents’ questions about a retired baseball card program.

“I was stopping and chatting with a member of the community and they were asking if this was something we were still doing because the Brewers used to give Bayside baseball cards because Bud Selig lives here.” , Klawitter said.

“It had a lasting impact because people in their 40s ask me if this is something they’re still doing,” he added.

Klawitter wants to reintroduce the collectible card program to a nearby community, but he said some agents don’t want their names and photos shared with people.

“All the officers are on the defensive,” he said. “It can kind of get a little too defensive, I think. I don’t mean “paranoid” because things can happen, and I understand that perfectly.

“Just because they don’t like the idea of ​​kids getting excited about a program doesn’t mean that people were excited a long time ago or something like that, or that they don’t want people to be excited about a program. see the police as friendly Some people like to keep their work and family life completely separate.

Public perception of the police

Klawitter parked in the driveway of a parking lot, facing a busy intersection on Brown Deer Road. He waited for a driver to disobey the no-turn sign and discussed the public’s perception of the police.

Klawitter said departments need more officers, and he believes fewer people are looking to get the job done.

“It seems that the people who supported us before love us now, and the people who haven’t supported us before hate us now,” he said.

“We had an officer here who had a thin blue sticker on his car, and his car was vandalized,” Klawitter added. “I can’t say that’s necessarily why it happened, but I guess that’s probably why.

“So you’ve got a lot of people coming to you and thanking you for your service and stuff. “

Earlier this year, Ozaukee County Police Chiefs participated in a virtual question-and-answer session to discuss topics such as the thin blue line, prejudice and diversity in the departments. Ozaukee County Sheriff James Johnson said during the question-and-answer session that bias training challenged officers to look at themselves and realize any implicit bias they may have.

But understanding the public’s biases when meeting with officers is just as important, Johnson said. Overcoming prejudices on both sides can create more positive interactions, he added.

“We all come to this table with some type of bias,” Johnson said.

Bayside police vehicles are equipped with items for use in a variety of situations, including a stuffed animal for a traumatized child.

Klawitter said cops are just people; they can be nice or morons, forgiving or strict.

“You have a job to do, and our own emotions can play into that job and the way we use our discretion,” he said.

Just minutes after stopping to watch traffic, Klawitter turned on the lights on the police car to stop a driver who made an illegal U-turn.

“I know people do this turn all the time,” Klawitter said, gesturing to the no-turn sign. “I could write them all down and have so many tickets and say, look how much work I do, but I’d rather not do it.”

He said this type of traffic stop might sound silly to people, but it opens the door for police to get dangerous drivers off the road.

“We stop, as a department, on this U-turn because we know the cars are stopped,” he said. “We don’t quote for that U-turn most of the time, but we get so many drunk drivers from something simple like that. This is the important thing; you get someone off the road who might be a danger to someone else, not because they’ve turned around.

Firearms and emergency training

As a firearms instructor, Klawitter wishes to provide officers with new techniques and training methods.

“I grew up in a culture where we knew about guns, gun safety and all that,” he said. “I know that not all police officers who become police officers have had this experience growing up. There are a lot of people I went to academy with who had never touched a gun before they got there.

Klawitter said the state’s required annual pistol qualification is “fairly rudimentary.”

Officer Michael Klawitter explains the contents of a police car trunk.  Officers travel with an empty gas can, emergency cones and other equipment stored in bags and drawers.

Rather than shooting only at paper targets, his training focuses on practical situations such as shooting in low light conditions or firing a weapon with winter gloves, a practice that Klawitter said his peers had never tried. Officers also train with a less lethal shotgun that shoots impact bullets from bean bags.

“The state is implementing a rifle qualification,” he said. “Until recently, they didn’t have one, and it still doesn’t have to be. We have put into practice their proposed qualifications in order to be up to date.

As he walked past local schools and places of worship, Klawitter said one of the department’s main goals remains training in how to respond to an active shooter situation.

This means not only practicing room cleaning during training, but also discussing the incident command system to determine who is responsible and what responders should do when they first arrive at the scene.

He pointed to the streets around Bayside Middle School and noted where a perimeter would be secured to provide security and work to save lives.

Shifts end with a roll call meeting in which officers and lieutenants detail their day. Klawitter hopes to become a lieutenant and follow in his father’s footsteps by being promoted throughout his career.

“I wanted, when I started this job, to be like my dad, but a more successful version of my dad,” he said. “He finished his detective career, but we don’t have any detectives in Bayside. That was sort of the best thing to do.”

Eddie Morales can be reached at 414-223-5366 or Follow him on Twitter at @emoralesnews.

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