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Law Enforcement Command College grads benefit Wisconsin communities

May 22, 2015

On June 1, a new event called the Central Wisconsin Hero Games will honor wounded veterans at the VA Medical Center in Tomah. They will compete in Olympic-style activities, including archery and a wheelchair-accessible obstacle course.

The Games were conceived by the graduating class of the Wisconsin Law Enforcement Command College, a partnership between the University of Wisconsin–Madison and the Wisconsin Department of Justice. The Command College trains representatives from law enforcement agencies around the state, preparing them for leadership roles. It grew out of UW–Madison’s highly successful Certified Public Manager Program, which has trained more than 600 people since 1990.

The Central Wisconsin Hero Games allow the 30 members of the Command College’s graduating class to apply managerial skills in a real-world setting. They worked closely with Veterans Administration staff to design competitive activities for the wounded warriors. This class project is part of a nine-month program that involved 30 days of intensive classroom instruction, along with individual projects that benefited the participants’ agencies.

“The Hero Games are an example of the commitment to service and community embodied in each of these law enforcement leaders,” says Command Coordinator Bradley Wentlandt, chief of the Greenfield Police Department. The project exemplifies the Command College core values: leadership, scholarship, and fellowship.

Media are welcome at the competition, which takes place from 1 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. June 1 at the Tomah VA Medical Center, followed by an awards ceremony. For more information, contact Robbi Dreifuerst, 608-262-3830,

Media are also invited to the Command College graduation ceremony at 11 a.m. June 5 at Tripp Commons in UW–Madison’s Memorial Union. Chief Justice Patience Roggensack of the Wisconsin Supreme Court will speak.

UW-Madison’s nationally accredited Certified Public Manager Program prepares managers in federal, state, and local government and in tribal and nonprofit organizations for the unique demands of the public management profession.

Members of the current graduating class represent 29 police departments, sheriff’s offices, and state agencies around Wisconsin. They are the second group to complete the Wisconsin Law Enforcement Command College, launched in 2013 by UW–Madison’s Division of Continuing Studies.

“The Command College has provided these law enforcement professionals with skills and knowledge to better serve their communities,” says Dreifuerst. “UW-Madison is pleased to partner with the Wisconsin Department of Justice to further the Wisconsin Idea, improving citizens’ lives beyond the classroom.”

Kurt Schoeni, a captain in the Oshkosh Police Department, believes his training in the Wisconsin Law Enforcement Command College will help him improve day-to-day operations in his agency. “The topics we covered will assist me in my interactions with the mixed generational workforce to provide a positive work environment and promote efficiencies,” he says.

Lt. Craig Jansen of the Manitowoc Police Department notes that the program turns out managers capable of motivating the staff of a Wisconsin law enforcement agency. “It helps prepare anyone trying to take their leadership skills to the next level,” he says.

The 30 graduates of this year’s Command College will join the ranks of more than 25,000 certified public managers nationwide. Members of the graduating class are: 

  • Lt. Todd Baeten, Wausau Police Department
  • Lt. Christopher Beldin, West Allis Police Department
  • Lt. Shane Collins, Holmen Police Department
  • Sgt. Karen Dingman, Big Bend Police Department
  • Sgt. Andrea Droessler, Platteville Police Department
  • Sgt. Aaron Ellis, Janesville Police Department
  • Sgt. Booker Ferguson, Sparta Police Department
  • Sgt. Todd Fristed, Jackson Police Department
  • Lt. David Gardner, Vilas County Sheriff’s Office
  • Sgt. Eugene Heckel, Kenosha Police Department
  • Sgt. Chad Hougaard, Sturgeon Bay Police Department
  • Sgt. Geoffrey Hutchinson, Waunakee Police Department
  • Sgt. Chris Jaekl, New Berlin Police Department
  • Lt. Craig Jansen, Manitowoc Police Department
  • Director Matthew Joy, Wisconsin Department of Justice
  • Jail Administrator Carol Kopp, Oconto County Sheriff’s Office
  • Lt. David Livingston, Altoona Police Department
  • Sgt. Robert Mueller, Caledonia Police Department
  • Lt. Cory Nelson, Madison Police Department
  • Lt. Lisa Panas, Waukesha County Sheriff’s Office
  • Sgt. Chris Riedel, DeForest Police Department
  • Sgt. Joseph Riesselmann, Jr., Kenosha Police Department
  • Chief Steven Roux, Rice Lake Police Department
  • Capt. Kurt Schoeni, Oshkosh Police Department
  • Sgt. Investigator Daniel Streit, Mukwonago Police Department
  • Chief Timothy Strohbusch, Clear Lake Police Department
  • Lt.Jason Sykora, St. Croix County Sheriff’s Office
  • Chief Jody Ward, Wisconsin Dells Police Department
  • Sgt. Patrick Zeps, Marshfield Police Department
  • Sgt. Scott Zienkiewicz, Greenfield Police Department

 Dean Robbins