Marshfield couple patrol streets for decades - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Marshfield couple patrol city streets for decades


It was by chance Carolyn Witzel now wears this uniform.

"I wasn't interested. He wanted me to join and I didn't want to,"explained Carolyn.

In fact, it came down to a bargain.

"He said you join auxiliary and I'll do this for you," said Carolyn.

So she did, and never looked back.

"Well, had I known how much I was going to enjoy it, I would have joined along time ago," Carolyn confessed.

Carolyn and her husband Rick have been part of the Marshfield PoliceAuxiliary Unit for more than 3 decades.

"We log more than 100 hours per month," said Rick Witzel.

The auxiliary unit is made up of more than 20 volunteers. Their job is to assist the Marshfield Police Department.

"Whatever the department needs us for," explained Rick. "Severe weather watch, lost children, planned events."

"They act as an additional set of eyes and ears for us," said Sgt. Patrick Zeps.

With years of experience, the Witzel's eyes and ears have seen and heard a lot.

"I remember the bear behind the clinic and we had to make sure people leaving the hospital did not come out that door," remembered Carolyn. "We're requested for a lot more things these days that maybe did not even occur 10, 20 years ago."

But one thing has always remained the same.

"Patrol continues to be the biggest emphasis. It provides the department with the greatest amount of help," said Rick.

We wanted to see what a typical day on patrol brings. So, we hit the road.

"I prefer to take an unmarked car," said Rick as we loaded into the police truck.

Rick and Carolyn don't carry weapons. Actually, none of the auxiliary officers do. And they have no arrest power.

"We primarily observe and report," said Rick.

But, that doesn't mean it's all for nothing.

"The night may be boring, you may not have any activity but you've probably had some effect on what happens or what doesn't happen," said Rick.

In fact, a study proves that. Several years ago the Marshfield Police Department compared the number of vandalism cases versus the hours auxiliary officers put in. In 10 out of 12 months, there was a direct correlation.

"The more auxiliary hours, the less vandalism," said Rick.

"What they do in the community maybe often times goes unnoticed but the amount of hours alone that the auxiliary puts in, really says a lot about their dedication to the city," said Sgt. Zeps.

Out on patrol, the Witzel's get a tip.

"Normally Rick will drive and I'll take notes," said Carolyn.

And when a call comes in, "I'm not allowed to talk," said Carolyn."We try to listen for things so I can't be chatty Kathy."

Next to her, Rick laughs at the "no talking policy,"

"We have to be alert to take calls. Focus and concentration are two main things," he defends.

"So that's why no talking," said Carolyn with a laugh. "He gets enough of that at home anyway."

The Witzel's have been married for almost 50 years, working side by side for nearly 40. What's their secret?

"You grow closer together, the things that we do together now are even more fun," said Rick. "This is just one of those things that's special."

This is a relationship most people would envy.

"They're the first people who will volunteer to help, they'll do anything you need and they really do have the department and the community first and foremost in their thoughts," explained Sgt. Zeps.

And with 35 years in, they're not slowing down.

"I see no time in the future where I want to stop," said Carolyn.

Because, after all, what's the fun in that?

"As long as I can do it, well I'll be doing it," said Rick.

That attitude is why Rick and Carolyn Witzel are Someone You Should Know.

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