SRO says he is staying busy while schools are shut down
Colby-Abbotsford’s school resource offi cer (SRO) told the local police commission Monday that he’s been busier than ever in the two months since schools were shut down due to COVID-19.
SRO Patrick Leichtnam walked commissioners through his typical daily routine, which includes 12 to 15 home visits to check on students and their families. He said he does everything from helping people apply for jobs to assisting kids with their homework if they’re having problems with online learning.
Leichtnam said he also helps the schools deliver lunches to families throughout the districts, going as far out as Milan to drop off meals and meet with students at their homes. He said he works with school administrators to identify kids and families most in need.
Leichtnam, who is also a licensed social worker, also works social services and the county health departments to make sure he and the families he checks on are staying healthy and safe.
“We’re seeing hundreds of kids every day,” Leichtnam said.
Commission president Todd Schmidt said he’s not surprised the SRO is busy.
“During this uncertain time, your role is more important than ever,” he said to Leichtnam.
_ In response to questions from Abby Mayor Lori Voss, chief Jason Bauer confi rmed that there is often a strong police presence at the Northside Apartments, but not because crime is so much higher there than other places.
“We do spend a lot of time up there, but we're trying to be proactive and build relationships,” he said. “It's not only because we get called up there.”
Bauer noted that several police agencies were recently at the apartment complex for a K-9 training exercise in one of the vacant apartments — not a drug bust.
The chief also confirmed that speeding is an issue on Pine Street, but it’s not all because of the apartment tenants.
_ Bauer said officer Chris Brandner is resigning as of May 31 to take a job with the Marathon County Sheriff’s Department. He said he posted a job opening with a June 1 application deadline, so he’s hoping the commission can interview applicants at its next meeting.