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Area police department weighs in on their protocols for calls to welfare checks

WAUSAU, Wis. (WAOW) — After a shooting Tuesday night in Wood County, the Wausau Police Department discussed what they do when they receive a welfare check call.

“We always try to give ourselves the best advantage we can going into any welfare check,” Mason Hagenbucher, Wausau Police Department Patrol Officer said. “We try to ask dispatch to get as much information from the caller as they can. The name, where it’s located, if we’ve had previous contacts or previous welfare checks at that address.”

He said regardless of being familiar with a location or not, as law enforcement they never know what they could be getting into.

“There’s always a danger with going into any kind of welfare check, and that’s why there’s always a minimum of two officers that go unless something else is known,” Officer Hagenbucher added.

Wausau Police Department receives dozens of calls for welfare checks each week. For their safety, they try to park at least two to three houses away from the address they’re responding to. This serves as a “safety net” according to Officer Hagenbucher, which allows them to have the proper space and time to react in the case something goes wrong.

“Sometimes a lot of things happen at one time, but even then we have to make sure we slow things down to make sure everyone is safe.”

He said officer safety is a top priority, and any law enforcement getting hurt while serving is a sad occurrence, and a reminder of the dangers the job presents at any moment.


Rashad Williams

News 9 Reporter

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