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Ladwig named Ellsworth police chief

From sergeant to chief. Eric Ladwig, who has been with the Ellsworth Police Department since 1995, was named police chief Monday night. He replaces Greg Place, who retired this summer. (Photo by Judy Wiff)

Eric Ladwig, who has been an Ellsworth officer for 18 years, is the village’s new police chief.

The Village Board voted Monday night to confirm Ladwig’s appointment. He was among 13 applicants and six finalists for the position left open when Greg Place retired in June.

“When I started in law enforcement, I couldn’t even buy bullets for my gun,” said Ladwig, 40, who began working part-time for the Prairie du Chien Police Department when he was 20 – not old enough to purchase bullets.

Originally from De Soto near La Crosse, Ladwig grew up on his family’s farm, graduated from high school in De Soto and earned a two-year Associate Degree in police science from Western Wisconsin Technical College in 1993.

“I think we’ve got a wonderful department and want to keep the communications open,” said Ladwig, who has been the Ellsworth Police Department’s sergeant since 2004. “We’re a young department, but we’re pretty active. I’m the oldest one, and I’m 40.”

His entry into law enforcement started in 1993 with routine patrol work in Prairie du Chien. He was hired as a patrol officer for Ellsworth in 1995 and has been here ever since.

In 1999 Ladwig became a member of the Emergency Response Unit for Pierce and Pepin counties. The unit responds to high-risk situations. Members are trained to deal with hostage rescues and barricaded or armed subjects and to conduct search warrants associated with high-risk criminal activity.

Members of the ERU participate in monthly training, including training with the FBI, military and other emergency response units outside jurisdiction.

As sergeant, Ladwig said, he supervised department personnel, was a leader in criminal investigations and was acting police chief when Place was on sick leave.

Since 1994 he has participated each year in continuing education, training in areas such as crowd control, traffic accident investigation, Intoxilyzer certification, firearms instruction, child abuse investigation, blood-borne pathogens, thermal imaging, emergency vehicle operations, basic sniper/ swat tactics, death investigation and Taser certification.

Along with his salary, Ladwig will get $100 a month for principal and permanent place of residence in the village. He will be on probationary status until Jan. 1, 2014 with a committee review then.

The board instructed the new chief to start the process of hiring a new patrol officer.

Judy Wiff

Judy Wiff has been regional editor for RiverTown’s Wisconsin newspapers since 1996. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism and sociology from UW-River Falls. She has worked as a reporter for several weekly newspapers in Wisconsin.