Franklin needs greater police presence at Kayla’s Playground

As I blogged recently, Franklin Mayor Steve Olson went to his Facebook page to announce vandalism had taken place at Kayla’s Playground.

Here’s that blog:

From Mayor Steve Olson’s Facebook page:

Of the many features at Kayla’s Playground there are two that are important but not often talked about. One is the rubberized poured in place play surface. It’s specifically designed to protect the kids from falls and to provide a good surface for crutches and wheelchairs. There’s also the areas under the ramps and slides and other play structures that are designed to be a safe place to play hide-and-seek, Well, last week someone decided that they’d hide while they destroyed part of the safety floor. Wouldn’t it be a shame to have to close up such a fun area because someone likes to destroy things. We’re getting quotes on getting the floor fixed but it’s not going to be cheap.

We respectfully ask Mayor Olson to comment with any update(s).

Otherwise, I’m sure you can check out his Facebook page.

—This Just In, June 9, 2018

Mayor Olson, a veritable social media machine, has yet to comment on my site.

But his Facebook entry, ICYMI, generated very interesting feedback.

The first noteworthy comment, and it was a strong one, came from….

Diane Reega Pautz Not surprised by this. Things have been getting out of hand for some time. Large crowds show up and take over shelter without permits. No visible sign of law enforcement ever visiting and walking around as promised when this was first built. Cameras that were installed are not being monitored as this act would have been caught. Not sure why this park is being ignored by law enforcement but I suspect politics has a role.

Diane Reega Pautz is the wife of former Franklin Parks Commissioner Dave Pautz.

NOTE: She and her husband, like me, are staunch supporters of Mayor Olson.

FULL DISCLOSURE: My wife has a Facebook page. I do not. She responded to the above.

Would love to hear the mayor’s reaction to your remarks Diane Reega Pautz. He’s normally all over social media.He knows we have the highest regard. But how about a response here.

NOTE: Keep this in mind as you read on.  Dave and Diane Reega Pautz have an interesting perspective. They live directly behind and adjacent to Kayla’s Playground. Dave Pautz as as a Parks Commissioner worked hard to make Kayla’s Playground a reality.

At this point the mayor responded. Not his best.

Mayor Steve Olson – Franklin, WI I’ve been offline for the past few days celebrating my 34th wedding anniversary so I chose to pay attention to other things that are more important. But to put the camera/police issue to bed, this damage is beneath the structure and out of sight of the camera’s and everyone else unless someone is looking for this type of damage.

My wife was next to be up.

Jennifer Bokan Fischer Mayor Steve Olson – Franklin, WI  Steve, Kevin and I respectfully disagree that you put this to bed. We get that cameras couldn’t capture what happened. But some rather serious comments have been made that law enforcement has not maintained a presence at the park. That deserves and requires a response other than the usual City Hall reaction that the criticism is wrong and the city is right. That’s getting old, dear friend.

The mayor didn’t waste much time.

Mayor Steve Olson – Franklin, WI Jennifer Bokan Fischer Sector squads routinely visit the playground at all hours and shifts.

Interesting. Read that again.

Sector squads routinely visit the playground at all hours and shifts.

That implies police regularly patrol the playground area. Does that happen?

I need to mention here that both the Pautz and Fischer families strongly support the Franklin police.

Having said that…back to Facebook.

Diane Reega Pautz
Jennifer Bokan Fischer I beg to disagree with the Mayor. I never see law enforcement there, nor do my neighbors. The park is in my backyard and I have a clear sight line to the playground. Neighbors who take their children daily also back up this statement. Most people are respectful and enjoy the facilities. But on any given day, there are those who abuse equipment and run wild. If law enforcement is showing up, it must be at night and even then, I would see them parked in the lot. Sadly, I don’t.

Like me, Dave Pautz doesn’t have a Facebook page. He sat back on the sidelines, but not for long.

Diane Reega Pautz Mayor Steve Olson – Franklin, WI Hi Mayor Olson. This is Dave Pautz. I totally agree with my wife’s statements. I have spent time at the playground and keep a close eye on it. I can truthfully say that in the past 2 years, I have seen law enforcement on only a handful of occasions and mostly at night. Neighbors will agree. At the time we chose the sight and built this facility, we were promised daily visits as a means of controlling things from getting out of hand. My neighbors have been reminding me quite often about the lack of any police presence and the gradual elements of thuggery that is starting to occur. I realize that the damage was in a hidden area, but I thought the cameras had recording capability which may have helped find the culprits. There is night activity going on which I also thought would trigger law enforcement action. Bottom line… if the crowd senses no oversight and law enforcement presence, this situation will get worse..

Damage control time. Enter the mayor. Again, not the best as he did what he usually does. He went on the defensive.

Mayor Steve Olson – Franklin, WI Let’s not shift the narrative here. Would it be good to have more police presence at the playground? Absolutely Is this an enforcement problem or a behavior/vandalism problem? I’ll have a conversation with the PD but we need more conversations with the kids and maybe even some parents.

Wrong response.

No one blamed the police for what happened. We know the culprits are the vandals, period.

But now that the damage is done, how will the city respond?

That’s an entirely legitimate question.

Dave Pautz and his wife and their comments should be welcomed and not immediately dismissed. But our mayor who could be even better if he wasn’t so thin-skinned and defensive and of the opinion that the city is never, ever in question doesn’t seem to want to take aggressive steps.

Diane Reega Pautz Mayor Steve Olson – Franklin, WI Steve, on any given day thrre are over 200+ people enjoying the park. Most all of them marvel at the facilities. Yet there are always dimwits that show up and their kids run rampant. I supported this park and hear from my neighbors quite often about the problems with groups of people coming in and acting badly. On occasions, I have confronted individuals who needed to get their kids under control. Talk to PD but I am telling you that they are rarely if ever seen at the park. When there is a city event with hundreds of people present, police always have a presrnce. Yet, it’s almost a daily event that the parking lot is full and 200+ people are at the park. So why no police presence occasionally? Makes no sense.

And about those cameras…

Diane Reega Pautz  there are cameras mounted on poles that have 360 degrees viewing. The city spent $25,000 to put them in. The original intent was to monitor the park at night when bad things could happen. They also can watch the park 24/7.. A monitor was to be installed at the police station dispatch center. Recording capability exists. Law enforcement was going to stop by daily and make their presence known. All this was promised when the park was being built. The real question is why none of this was followed through and why cameras are shut off. I would ask park goers to identify if thry ever saw anyone from law enforcement stop by and walk around. Very sad.

The mayor wrote he would talk to the police.

Look, let’s be clear again. No one is blaming the police. But IF they’re not patrolling on a consistent basis and that was part of the whole deal, then that’s a problem.

The mayor mishandled the comments from the Pautz family. He should have respectfully accepted them and he also should have pledged to look into the matter.

The solution is obvious.

Now that damage has occurred again at the playground police patrols need to be increased.

Kayla’s Playground is one of the very few jewels Franklin has in its crown. Hell, Franklin arguably doesn’t even have a crown.

Helping seal the deal would be if our mayor would drop the “Franklin is never wrong” shield. I’m afraid that will never happen.

3 thoughts on “Franklin needs greater police presence at Kayla’s Playground

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