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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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070721frontBadgley.jpg

Chief Rick Badgley At His Last Day of Work.

Police Chief Rick Badgley Retires, Mike Sievert Named Interim Chief

Issue Date: July 8, 2021

Peshtigo Police Chief Rick Badgley announced his pending retirement on Wednesday, June 30, and at the City Council meeting on Tuesday, July 6, Mayor Cathi Malke's selection of Detective Mike Sievert to serve as interim chief was approved without dissent. Chief Badgley has been a member of the Peshtigo Police Department for over 40 years, the last three as Chief.

Sievert's wife, Alderman Debbie Sievert, abstained from voting on his selection as interim chief, and Alderman Brigitte Schmidt was absent. Voting in favor was Aldermen John Berendt, Rick Berth, Katie Berman, and Keith Klimek.

Council also approved a recommendation from the Streets and Drainage Committee to have the dumpster at the city garage open from 8 a.m. to noon on Saturday, July 17. Alderman John Berendt, who chairs the committee, noted the Saturday hours are provided as a convenience for residents who have items to dispose of that cannot be put in containers for regular garbage collection. Regular charges for disposal will apply, but for this day only, the fees can be paid right at the disposal site instead of having to be paid in advance at the Municipal Building.

In other business, Crystal Gardon and Nicole Schingick briefly explained plans for a new and improved playground at Badger Park, aimed at preserving and improving the nostalgia that goes with Badger Boardwalk, and Council approved a Parks and Recreation Committee recommendation to have Parks and Recreation Director Lori Tonn work with them, along with Laura Finger, Morgan Oestreich, and Jenni Hofer to fundraise on behalf of the city for Badger Boardwalk updates, with changes to be approved by the Parks and Recreation Committee.

Gardon explained they had met with four different companies on playground design before deciding to work with the firm that had designed the new Peshtigo Elementary playground. â€We all grew up with Badger Park,†Gardon declared, and added they want to preserve and rejuvenate the nostalgic memories they have of Badger Boardwalk. However, she said, Badger Boardwalk is 26 years old, which is about the average lifespan of playground equipment, and now they want to create a playground that will provide similar nostalgia for their children.

â€I think these girls have put together something phenomenal,†Tonn declared. She said the young women had put a lot of thought into their selection of design. Tonn agreed there is much concern in the community over Badger Boardwalk and memories associated with it. Alderman Sievert also thanked the young women for their awesome presentation at the Parks and Recreation Committee meeting on June 24.

Council also approved an RLF/UDAG Committee recommendation to give a loan of $46,000 to Driven Agriculture, LLC with interest at 125 basis points above the 10-year treasury yield for 15 years, contingent upon a second position on the real estate, personal guarantees, and other loan requirements and procedures.

Street use permits were approved for The River Pub for a motorcycle and car show on Saturday, Aug. 21, and Peshtigo Historical Society for an ice cream social and cemetery walk on Sunday, Sept. 26.

Several Streets and Drainage Committee recommendations were approved, including a request from Brian Eggener to install a second driveway on his property at 940 French Street, extending the recycling contract with Harter's Fox Valley Disposal for two years, and accepting high bids of $2,300 from Tom Rogendorf for purchase of the 1998 Loadmaster rear load garbage truck, $2,800 from Tom McClellan for the 1989 Sewer jetter on an International truck chassis and $3,900 from Tom McClellan for the 1994 Mowbark chipper.

Council also approved recommendations of the Water and Sewer committee to accept the bid from Barley Trucking and Excavating in the amount of $173,404.89 for the 2021 E. Front Street Water Main contract; proposal of FSO for hauling and land application of wastewater treatment plant biosolids generated after August of 2019, and hiring of GEI Consultants, Inc. â€as proposed,†to undertake the remedial action plan for the handling of PFAS-impacted biosolids being stored at the wastewater treatment plant.

Chief Badgley's pending retirement and naming of his successor were announced by Malke at the start of Tuesday's Council meeting.

â€I am writing to express my sincere gratitude to you, the citizens of Peshtigo, a host of partners and partner agencies too numerous to name, and the employees who have traversed the ranks of the Peshtigo Police Department over the last 40 years,†Chief Badgley wrote in the resignation letter addressed to Malke. â€I have been so fortunate to have had an opportunity to serve the city where I have resided for 30 years. I have had a variety of roles, beginning in March 1982 as Patrol Officer, then promoted to sergeant and culminating with my service as Chief of Police from 2018 until today.â€

â€When I reflect on the last 40 years, many moments come to mind. I picture events that will forever be emblematic of the tragedy, importance, and occasional humor of our work policing Peshtigo. Among the most rewarding experiences were the opportunities to train police officers, initiatives, and strategies to move the Department and City forward; provide some measure of comfort to victims, survivors, and family members affected by the tragedy, crime, and violence; and engage so many members of our vibrant community in our efforts to make Peshtigo the safest, healthiest, and most livable small city in the area,†Badgley's letter went on.

â€No contemporary police department can provide the safety, security, and problem-solving capacity that communities need without robust partnerships,†Badgley wrote. â€We have been fortunate to have support from so many partners and partner agencies. From community members to local businesses, healthcare providers to social service, educational institutions, there are so many who help us accomplish our work every day. To each of our partners and to so many people who have engaged in community initiatives, I extend a heartfelt thank you.

â€When I was hired, Chief Thomas Strouf told me that I had entered the noblest of professions. Some time a few years prior to then, President Theodore Roosevelt said in an address to the New York City Police Department, â€Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.†I hope that my efforts have, in some small way, embodies the essence of these statements and the best traditions of the history of the Peshtigo Police Department,†Badgley's letter continued.

â€Most importantly, those who do the increasingly challenging work of policing that is so essential and so often misunderstood and underappreciated - and the family and friends who support them each day - will always have my unwavering support, gratitude, and admiration. I am honored to have been fortunate enough to serve with them.

â€As I prepare for the next phase of my life, I am confident that my colleagues at the Peshtigo Police Department are well-positioned to continue the Department's important work for the community,†Badgley's letter concluded.

Malke said she first met then-Officer Badgley when she was on a Rescue Squad call. After that, she said whenever the pager would go off and it was for a â€Pulseless Non-Breather,†she would hope Rick was working. â€Officer Badgley would always respond to the residence to show responding units where the call was located and would start CPR until a responding rescue unit could relieve him. He's saved more lives than any Rescue Squad member,†Malke declared.

She also related an incident that happened when she and her family were camping at Badger Park. Fights had broken out at three different campsites, and items were flying everywhere, Malke recalled. â€I called dispatch to notify them about what was taking place, and within five minutes Officer Badgley pulled in and started walking toward all the commotion.

â€For his safety, I informed him dispatch was sending extra help from Marinette Police Department, but Officer Badgley continued to walk toward all the fighting.†He started talking to the disorderly campers in a controlled voice, Malke said, and within five minutes they had all quit fighting and started packing their belongings, Malke said.

Malke noted Officer Badgley was later promoted to Sergeant Badgley and three years ago she appointed him to the position of Chief Badgley.

Malke said in 2019 she was proud to nominate Chief Badgley to be honored as the First Responder of the Year for the 89th Assembly District, â€...because I had seen firsthand all the lives he saved and care he gave to persons in need.â€

On Wednesday, June 30, Chief Badgley turned in his retirement paperwork after protecting the City of Peshtigo for over 40 years. Malke thanked Badgley for all his years of service and declared he will be missed.

Malke said on Thursday, July 1, after receiving Chief Badgley's paperwork the previous day, she contacted Lieutenant Jared Phillips and offered him the position of interim Police Chief until a new Police Chief could be hired. â€Lieutenant Phillips thanked me for the gesture of a promotion to Chief, but declined, saying he likes his current position,†Malke said.

Next, she called Detective Mike Sievert, who has been working part-time as an investigator with the city's Police Department. He is retired from the Marinette County Sheriff's Department after more than 20 years of service. â€Mike's qualifications are many,†Malke said. â€He started as a Patrol Deputy, was promoted to Patrol Sergeant and then to Detective Sergeant. His certifications are many, including Fire Investigator (Certified by the National Fire Academy), Death Investigator (Certified by DCI), Evidence Technician, K-9 handler with extensive drug interdictions and arrests. He is also a member of the Sheriff's Department dive team.

Malke said because she was trying to remain within the budget she offered Mike Sievert the position of Interim Chief of Police, with a working cap of 29 hours.

Pay for Sievert while serving as interim chief is still be determined by the Personnel Committee. Alderman Sievert, who chairs that committee, noted she will abstain from acting on issues pertaining to her husband's employment. She, Berendt, and others on the Council joined Malke in thanking Badgley for his many years of service to the city and wished him well in his retirement.

Badgley was born in Rhinelander in 1952 and earned an Associates Degree in Police Science from Nicolet College in 1973 after attending classes there for two years. He worked at Rhinelander Paper Mill from 1973 to 1975, and then was employed as a Three Lakes Police Officer from 1975 until 1982 when he joined the Peshtigo Police Department, where he has served ever since.

He and his wife, Carol (Scholtes) Badgley, are members of St. Mary Catholic Church and have four adult children, Jennifer, Jamie, Richard, and Rachel.


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