La Crosse police receive grant for new officer on north side

A $75,000 grant is funding a new police officer in La Crosse. The La Crosse Community Foundation made the announcement Wednesday.

The grant will be used for a police officer to work strictly on the north side as a neighborhood resource officer. Their focus will be to battle problems in that area and show residents that law enforcement isn’t all bad.

The La Crosse Police Department is excited to place an officer on the north side. “They’ll be able to spend time, and look at the issues and work on those problems,” Lt. Pat Hogan, of the La Crosse Police Department, said.

The La Crosse Community Foundation issued the $75,000 grant to improve the neighborhood.

“There are all sorts of unbelievable resources here and this grant for a foot patrol police officer really just supports all the great things that are happening on the north side,” Shiela Garrity, executive director of La Crosse Community Foundation, said.

The Community Foundation hopes this new officer will become close with the community.

“Somebody who can build relationships with people, and kids and business leaders in a neighborhood so that they recognize the police officer as a resource,” Garrity said.

The Boys and Girls Club said it will benefit their kids, too.

“You know some of these kids, maybe their only experience they’ve ever had with a police officer is a negative one and so for the police to come in, it’d be a positive experience. We just think it’s a good thing,” Mike Desmond, executive director of the Boys and Girls Club of Greater La Crosse, said.

“The big plan is to have six officers. Two on the South side, two in the central area of the city and two on the North side,” Garrity said.

The police department said they wouldn’t be able to fund this position on their own.

“We’re very grateful for them,” Hogan said. “It’s a community problem out there, the things that we’re looking at, so it’s good to get the partnership from everybody involved.”

The grant is for three years. After each year the grant will be looked at to see how the officer is doing in the community and how the neighborhood perceives the officer.

The city received a similar grant back in October from the U.S. Department of Justice. That is funding three new community officers for three years, with the city picking up salaries for a fourth.