In early June, Michael Krich became the newest addition to the Tomahawk Police Department. Although a native of the Chicago, IL suburbs (Crystal Lake), Krich has been quite familiar with the Wisconsin Northwoods, due to having family ties in the area.
“This area has always been my happy place,” he adds. “Illinois is very fast paced. When we would come up here to visit, this was my place to relax and enjoy the outdoors. I’ve always been an avid fisherman.”
In 2014, Krich relocated to the area to attend Nicolet Technical College in Rhinelander, majoring in Criminal Justice.
“The camaraderie of law enforcement and the opportunities the job allows to help someone on any given day, is what really attracted me to pursue a career as a police officer,” he explains. “As much as we have to do as police officers at times which isn’t very fun or enjoyable, there will always be opportunities to help someone. There are opportunities to make a positive difference in someone’s day at any given moment.”
It was while pursuing his Associate Degree at Nicolet, Krich met Tomahawk Police Chief Al Elvins, who is also an Adjunct Instructor at the school, and taught Krich’s Juvenile Law class. The familiarity with Elvins and the department ultimately led to Krich applying for the open police officer position.
Krich had worked as a TPD dispatcher for a year prior to applying.
“While working as a dispatcher I got to know the staff of the Tomahawk Police Department very well, as well as the community. I also learned what Chief Elvins expects of his staff. I knew this would be a good fit for me so I decided to apply.”
Krich’s official start date was June 3 and immediately began the department’s rigorous 12-week Field Training and Orientation (FTO) program.
Despite all new officers having a minimum of 60 college credits, and in most cases a minimum of a two-year Associate Degree, along with 18 weeks of police academy training; upon hire they must also complete 12 weeks of training within the department before they embark on solo patrol.
As Krich’s current Field Training Officer Sgt. Steve Buckwalter explains, the TPD FTO curriculum consists of three phases. As Krich completes each phase, he is expected to take more responsibility on his own in learning and completing tasks.
“The first day and couple weeks is more guided by his training officer. But as he progresses, his training officers will gradually ease into less of an instructor and more of a coach and observer,” the 13-year department veteran adds.
Currently, Krich is nearing the end of phase one and about to embark on phase two. As part of phase one, he has been trained in a variety of areas, such as department documentation systems and procedures, orientation and familiarization with the Tomahawk community and area, as well as policy and procedure with alarms and juvenile subjects.
Examples of phase two training include policy and procedure in the areas of OWI (Operating While Intoxicated) investigations and search and seizure. Phase three training examples include policy and procedure with crime scenes and investigations as well as high-risk situations.
Through the course of his training, Officer Krich will team up with other Field Training Officers Tom Tollefson, Brett Susa and John DuPlayee.
“It feels great to be here,” Krich adds with a grin. “Most of all, it feels great to work in a community that is very supportive of their police officers and department. It’s nice to have that support and to have community members show their appreciation for what we do.”