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Friday, 21 August 2015 08:52

Milton chief making transition from campus to community

Written by  Dennis Hines
Scott Marquardt is a 20-plus-year law enforcement veteran who is the new police chief in Milton. Marquardt most recently served as chief for the University of Wisconsin-Platteville Police Department for six years.  Scott Marquardt is a 20-plus-year law enforcement veteran who is the new police chief in Milton. Marquardt most recently served as chief for the University of Wisconsin-Platteville Police Department for six years. Terry Mayer

JANESVILLE MESSENGER -- For Milton Police Chief Scott Marquardt, it was curiosity and wanting to follow in his father’s footsteps that sparked his interest in law enforcement.

Marquardt said his father, Lynn, who worked for the Verona Police Department for about 20 years, still serves as an inspiration for his career.

“I blame (my father) for my career because he always tried to separate his job from home, and he never talked about it so I thought, ‘I have to go figure out what this is all about,’” Marquardt said. “To this day, he’s still my career adviser. I keep him up-to-date on what’s going on and ask him questions when I’m stumped. He’s provided me with good advice over the years.”

Marquardt recently was hired as the new chief for the Milton Police Department, replacing Dan Layber, who took a job as police chief for the village of Cottage Grove. Marquardt began his new job July 20.

During the past few weeks Marquardt has been working to become more familiar with the police department and the city of Milton.

“I’m trying to get to know all of the department staff. That was one of my early goals, to get to know everybody in the (city hall) building, at least,” Marquardt said. “Now that I’m feeling better about understanding how the department works and how the staff works and how we work with city hall, I’m starting to do my community outreach, so I’m starting to meet people in the community and getting to know all the groups in town and the businesses and just slowly getting to know the city better and better.”

Marquardt said Layber has helped him transition into his new job.

“I haven’t had to reach out to him frequently, but he’s been very helpful,” Marquardt said. “There’s been a couple of times when I’ve been stumped and I called him up and said, ‘What do you think about this,’ and I anticipate continuing to do that, and he’s been very welcoming to me and he’s mentioned to call him any time so I’m going to take him up on that offer.”

Marquardt said he wants to maintain the quality of the department and how it operates.

“What a fantastic police department. People do such a good job here,” Marquardt said. “It’s a blessing to walk into an organization that is functioning as well as it is. My goal is to not break it and keep it functioning well.”

Another one of Marquardt’s goals is to develop a long-term plan for the police department.

“We’re doing really good with the day-to-day stuff, and I have no desire to change that,” Marquardt said. “I think we do a really good job, but as the city talks about what the community is going to look like in five, 10 or 20 years, likewise, we have to think about what the department is going to look like, what are the things we need to consider when it comes to growth, what are the things we need to consider when it comes to national policing trends, how do we learn lessons from other departments around the nation and how do we start doing some of those types of things here.”

Before coming to Milton, Marquardt worked as the police chief for the University of Wisconsin-Platteville Police Department for about six years. The difference between working for a campus police department and a municipal police department is there are more federal guidelines to follow at a campus department, he said.

“There’s a lot of laws and specific things that you have to do on a campus that you don’t have to do in a municipality,” Marquardt said. “It was kind of a realization for me when I got here that I was more of a federal compliance employee than a police chief on some days (at UW-Platteville). Now, I feel like I can get back to just doing police work.

“(With a campus department) if an auditor comes in and finds that you’re out of compliance, the fine amounts are in the thousands of dollars for doing it wrong, so there’s a lot more pressure to do it right. Thankfully at UW-Platteville, we did a very good job of it.”

Marquardt, 44, began his career in 1992 with the city of Platteville Police Department. During his time with the Platteville Police Department, Marquardt served as a patrol officer, detective, patrol sergeant and lieutenant.

“Platteville is a college town, so the influence of the students is huge on the policing and the quantity of the policing that happens, so summers are much quieter in Platteville,” Marquardt said. “During the school year, primarily the activity is driven by students and alcohol use and the foolishness that can happen.

“I have to see how the fall plays out here. I’m still getting to know the patterns of Milton and how it’s going to work here. From a day-to-day standpoint, I don’t think we police differently.”

City Administrator Al Hulick said Marquardt’s experience is the reason why he was chosen to lead the department.

“He has a pretty lengthy career in police service,” Hulick said. “He already had worked as a chief for a long time in Platteville. He had the knowledge and skills we were looking for.”

Marquardt received his bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from UW-Platteville and his master’s degree in justice administration from the University of Louisville. He attended the Fox Valley Technical College police academy after he was hired to the Platteville Police Department.

Marquardt said he has enjoyed living in the city of Milton and feels his family will like living in the area, as well. His wife, Julie, grew up in Janesville. They have two children --  Kieran, 5, and Cora, 3.

“(My children) saw the splash pad, so they’re pretty thrilled about that,” Marquardt said. “My wife is from the area, so she’s moving closer to her family. So, we will be spending a lot of time on the weekends with extended family and getting to explore some places that we haven’t looked at before.

“We do like to go to local places and explore day-trip places. Her mom lives on the south side of Janesville, so grandma is thrilled to have her grandchildren move closer.”

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