News: Neillsville – Mankowski - New Police Chief (Dec 2019)
Contact: Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon
Surnames: Mankowski, Klueckmann, Fehlman
----Source: Clark County Press (Neillsville, Clark Co., WI) 1/15/2020
News: Neillsville’s New Police Chief (Mankowski – 2019)
Mankowski hired as Neillsville Police Chief
James Mankowski has been appointed as the new police chief for the city of Neillsville. He will be publicly sworn in at the Jan. 28 city council meeting at Neillsville City Hall at 7 p.m. Valorie Brecht/Clark County Press
By Valorie Brecht
Nearly a year after the last police chief resigned and after one candidate backed out at the last minute, the city of Neillsville has finally secured a new police chief.
Jim Mankowski was appointed as Neillsville Chief of Police on Dec. 31 (2019). He has decades of experience in the police profession.
Mankowski grew up in Monticello, a city about 30 miles southwest of Madison and half the size of Neillsville, where his dad served as police chief. This got Mankowski interested in law enforcement at a young age.
In 1997, Mankowski started his law enforcement career with the Avoca Police Department. Mankowski left the Avoca Police Department in 1999 and joined the Belleville Police Department. He continues to serve Belleville in a part-time capacity. For a short time in 2019, Mankowski was part of the police department in the city of Ridgely, TN.
Mankowski formed his own private security firm in 1999, which he managed until 2018.
Mankowski is a Certified Protection Officer, firearms instructor, TASER Instructor and Use of Force Instructor. Recently, Mankowski attended the Northwestern University Center for Public Safety and completed several human resources management courses at Madison College.
Mankowski was drawn to Neillsville for several reasons. For one, he has a family in Clark County. He also appreciates the small-town community.
“Neillsville is the type of community you want to police in,” said Mankowski. “It’s big enough to meet the needs of a family but it’s small enough where you’re not just writing tickets and making arrests all the time. I want to help people and impact lives. In the bigger communities, you’re just taking reports.”
Mankowski said his department has a responsibility to be “community caretakers and community advocates.”
He explained while his role will obviously entail enforcing the law, it also involves helping out people who need assistance. He wants people to know that the police department is there to serve them.
“We are a customer service agency,” he said.
Mankowski said one of his main priorities will be getting acquainted with the people of Neillsville and forming relationships with them. He plans to get to know all the business owners in town.
“I will stop in at the businesses and say hi and check in at the school on a regular basis, not to write citations, but just to be there and interact with people,” he said.
Mankowski also wants to increase the officer presence in the community. He plans to implement more community programs, such as hosting “coffee with a cop” at a local restaurant where people can come in and chat with the cops, get to know them and express any concerns they might have. He is also looking at scheduling office hours during weekday afternoons when he will be available at the police station.
Mankowski encouraged the public to feel free to contact him with any questions, comments or concerns.
“People are welcome to contact me anytime. If you have questions, that’s what I am here for,” he said. “Don’t be afraid to call.”
Mankowski has two sons, Jackson and Truman, and recently purchased a home in Neillsville.
Prior to Mankowski, Scott Klueckmann served as Neillsville Police Chief for 28 years. He concluded his service on Feb. 15, 2019. After Klueckmann finished, Neillsville police officer Patrick Fehlman served as interim police chief until Mankowski was hired.
There will be a public swearing-in ceremony for Mankowski at the next city council meeting, Tuesday, Jan. 28, at 7 p.m. at the city hall.
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