The missing link: found
On Oct. 30 at around 10:00 a.m., an officer was dispatched to the footbridge for a check person. The communication center said the officer should make contact with them via telephone in reference to this case.
The officer said the complainant had called the non-emergency number to report an older male with a white beard enter the river and begin to float downstream. The complainant said the male was not seeming to struggle in the water.
The communication center said they had contacted Battalion 1 in reference to the incident. Based on prior incidents, they recognized the subject said to be floating in the river.
The officer was told that Battalion 1 had requested Engine 2 be en route to the area as a precaution and requested it not be toned out on the radio.
The officer said to the communication center that, based on the information, it did sound like the subject described by Battalion 1. The subject has been cited by the UWECPD on two previous occasions for similar behavior.
The communication center said the complainant had not been able to observe the subject exit the river.
Based on prior contacts, the officer said they know the subject spends large amounts of time in the basement of the McIntyre Library. The officer said they traveled to this area and spoke to workers who said the subject had been in and out all day.
The officer traveled to the basement where they located the subject seated in a chair using a large green overcoat as a blanket. The officer observed the subject’s hair to be damp and that the subject was preparing food on a library end table.
The officer said the subject was smashing bananas, an avocado and cheese slices into a bag to eat. The subject was utilizing an end of a pop can as a fork.
The officer observed at the time that the subject was utilizing the library bookshelves as a drying rack. They said a pair of the subjects’ black boxer-style underwear was hanging up drying.
The officer introduced themselves and said the reason for contact. The subject said they had just finished going for a swim in the Chippewa River.
The officer asked the subject why he has repeatedly gone into the river after being told not to. The subject said they “prefer the challenge.” They also said they found the water to be peaceful and that they were not in danger.
The subject said they remembered the officers stating in the past that they were not allowed to swim. They said they just loved the water and that they didn’t like the YMCA water.
They then asked the officer if the police could put out a bulletin informing people of who they were so they could swim in the river. The officer said this was not going to happen.
The subject said they didn’t want to put other people in danger. The officer said each time the subject swam in the river, they placed the first responders in danger.
The officer then asked the subject what they would feel like if someone jumped into the water in an attempt to save them and ended up drowning. The subject said they did not want this to happen. The officer said they could not continue to swim in the river if they wished to remain on campus.
The subject said they knew the city police would have the same response to them swimming in their jurisdiction.
The officer asked the subject about their friend from Owen, Wis. who had previously offered the subject resources. They said they didn’t want to discuss their friend because of “politics.”
The officer said that based on the subject’s swimming and general behavior in the library today, they were going to escort them out and they would not be able to return that day.
The subject gathered their items slowly and wrapped their food in paper towels that looked new. They packed their bags and the officer watched them take their wet clothing items off the library bookshelves. The officer then escorted them out of the building.
On the way out, the subject said they were planning on staying at the Sojourner House. They asked the officer if they would be able to come back to the library the next day if they agreed to stay out of the river. The officer said at the moment, they were not banned permanently, but they had to leave for the day.
The subject was issued a citation for the third time and sent on their way. The UWECPD has had 29 prior cases with this subject since Dec. 2018.
The officer then cleared the scene.
You mean I can’t take the university’s power?
On Oct. 31 at around 8:00 a.m., an officer was contacted by a subject who said there was an unoccupied truck parked in the F row in the Towers parking lot. They said there was an orange extension cord running from the vehicle to an outlet used to power university vehicles. There was no parking pass present on the vehicle.
The officer responded to the area and located a Ford F350 parked. The officer verified the vehicle was not occupied and observed the extension cord actively charging the vehicle. The vehicle’s temporary license plates did not indicate any owner.
Due to the height of the lifted truck, the officer was not able to observe the VIN. They then traveled to facilities management, where they were provided with a two-foot step ladder. The officer then observed the VIN listed to a subject out of Holmen, Wis.
As the officer was attempting to locate a phone number, they observed a male and female approach the vehicle. The officer made contact with the owner. Also present with the male was a female UW-Eau Claire student. The male said he was on campus visiting the female.
The male said he had plugged the vehicle in due to it being a diesel. He immediately apologized and said he had not thought about the theft of services issue. He said it had not crossed his mind.
The officer said he would need a university official’s consent to use any power. The male said he was headed to the visitor’s center to gain a parking pass and would speak to an official.
Both subjects were valid to drive with no wants and very cooperative and apologetic.
The officer then cleared the scene.
Dirks can be reached at [email protected]