Ask an Official: MPD discusses patrol staffing
This week’s featured question was submitted for an officer of the Merrill Police Department
The question reads:
“ “Why don’t police work in pairs anymore? I remember back when that was the norm and now it seems like a guy only sees that sort of thing in the big cities. When did that stop?”
Question answered by Merrill Police Lieutenant Greg Hartwig
“In the early years of the Merrill Police Department there was only one squad car. Communication was also an issue as there was not a radio system. It wasn’t until 1949 that we had two squad cars in our fleet. “With a lack of reliable communications and a lack of squads it was safer and out of necessity for two officers to patrol in the same vehicle. It wasn’t until 1995 that MPD had four marked squad cars. It was around that time when officers were more likely to be patrolling in the squads without a partner. At times though squads may have been taken to training, mechanical issues, or switching squads over when a new vehicle was purchased that officers may have ‘doubled’ up in a squad.
“Moving on to today, officers rarely patrol with two officers in a squad. Technology has played a factor in that as squads have reliable communications, onboard computers, and cell phones. Officers cover more ground patrolling, and respond to emergency calls in a timelier manner with one officer per squad car. An exception is when we are training a new officer, as during our field training program we have two officers in the squad.”
Have a question or concern you would like to address? Simply send your question or concern to email@example.com along with an indication of which entity your question or concern pertains to. Current participants are the Merrill Police Department, Merrill Fire Department, Tomahawk Police Department, Lincoln County Administrative Coordinator Randy Scholz, Lincoln County Parks and Forestry Director Kevin Kleinschmidt, Merrill City Administrator Dave Johnson and Merrill Area Housing Authority Director Paul Russell. Please note: Those who submit to the ‘Ask an Official’ feature remain anonymous.