By Joe Bachman
City Times Staff recently sat down with Police Chief Kurt Heuer and Detective Nate Reblin in regards to the new narcotics position to be added to the Wisconsin Rapids Police Department.
WRCT: Tell us about what the new position will entail.
Heuer: We’ve all seen a significant increase in activity around the use of drugs, narcotics, meth, heroin, and so our responsibility around that activity is to address from not just a law enforcement standpoint, but a community standpoint. What we found was that we weren’t getting to everything we needed to get to from a time standpoint from just one narcotics detective. We began the process with our human resources committee, our financial committee, our mayor, and the council, to be able to bring a second narcotics detective, which we’re really happy about because it’s going to allow us now to get to the level of work that truly needs to be done in regards to the activity that we’ve been challenged with.
Reblin: We’re finding that if we have ex. amount of cases in a day or a week we have to sort out which cases need to be handled today — so the community oriented stuff that we need to get to and want to get to, we’re not able to address. High volume traffic at a neighbor’s house, or frequent out of state visitors, or things that cause concern for the community. Unfortunately, that gets put on the back-burner.
WRCT: How much of an effect will this have on the problem of heroin in the area?
Heuer: We know based on the work that Detective Reblin is doing, our expectation is to bring in and promote someone who is trained by Nate and others within our Central Wisconsin drug task force, and are very active. Based on what I’ve seen administratively, what is accomplished by our drug task force, there will be impact. It won’t only be a huge help for us from an enforcement standpoint for Wisconsin Rapids, but for the greater Central Wisconsin Drug Task Force region. The additional narcotics detective will be very active and will keep a high level of focus. This will be a big benefit for the greater community. The numbers in the one to five years will be the proof of the effect of this addition.
Reblin: I think there’s going to be a lot of intangibles in the position. We’ll be able to get out and do more community oriented informational sessions and broaden our community’s knowledge, and I think in turn that will be a positive investment.
Heuer: It will also do some prevention, and you can’t put a number on that, but you’ll be able to change someone’s thought process where they could say that they don’t want anything to do with drugs in a positive manner. We never know how many people we’ll be able to affect, but we’ve gotten positive feedback through presentations and getting this information out into the public.
WRCT: How soon will the position be filled?
Heuer: We have that process rolling, actually. We will be doing interviews tomorrow, and we hope to have that individual named very soon, and our next process will be taking an entry level officer that will be able to fill that gap, as someone will be coming from patrol to come into the bureau to become the next narcotics detective. It’s going to happen pretty quick.
WRCT: Do you hope to hire more in the future?
Heuer: I think we’re going to continue and evaluate what is realistic. We have always said in our discussions that we can’t arrest our way out of this problem, and we have a high level of responsibility to do this job from an enforcement component, but with that I also expect to do this job from an education component. One of our main objectives is to send a very loud and strong message to those who deal that this community is not going to tolerate it. So our responsibility is to be very diligent with our law enforcement efforts, to get treatment for those who need help, and to get them into rehab to help them with their addiction.
Reblin: There’s obviously enough work, and one the most important things is having the capability to do the things we couldn’t do before. The fact that there will be two of us means we will be able to have continued engagement with the task force but still have somebody that can get into the schools and businesses to educate them. Hopefully now, we will have time to do that.