Kenosha Joint Services is a very important law enforcement support agency here in Kenosha. Many people don’t know what the agency and its employees are responsible for doing. Most of the work done here is behind-the-scenes. The budget for Joint Services is just over $10M and it employs about 84 civilians. The budget comes mostly from the County of Kenosha and City of Kenosha tax-dollars.
The Joint Services board oversees the director and is comprised of three representatives from City Government, three from county government, and a neutral citizen for a total of seven members.
New Director: Joshua Nielsen
Any personal details you wish to share? Family/Hobbies?
I love golfing and am a big sports fan..
How Long you’ve been in Kenosha County? How long with J.S? What roles have you had with J.S.?
I’m from southeastern Wisconsin originally from Racine. I spent about six years living outside of Wisconsin, mostly during my enlistment in the United States Marine Corps. I’ve been with Kenosha Joint Services since 1999 and started as a 911 Dispatcher. I’ve filled the roles of Communications Training Officer, Staff and Training Coordinator, Communications Department Manager, and Assistant Director. I’ve also filled in as Interim Director during that last two director transitions.
Can you tell us the responsibilities of J.S.?
I’m so glad you asked about the responsibilities of Joint Services! I think many times people don’t know about the role that our agency plays in supporting public safety; much of our work is done behind the scenes. Joint Services was established in 1982 as a cooperation between the City of Kenosha and Kenosha County governments. One of the main reasons was to reduce duplication of services, saving the taxpayers.
Some highlights about the services we provide, this is not all inclusive:
1. Law Enforcement Records – The Records Bureau is staffed 24/7, staff processes law enforcement reports, processes open records requests, and assists citizens at the 24/7 information counter
2. Communications (Emergency Communications Center) – Our staff operate the 24/7 Emergency Communications Center in Kenosha answering all 911 calls, non-emergency lines and dispatching public safety services (police, sheriff, fire and EMS).
3. Evidence/Identification – Staff assist law enforcement with processing and storing evidence, processing open records and discovery requests as well as identifying people through fingerprinting.
4. Fleet Maintenance – Not only do our mechanics and fleet staff maintain vehicles for the Kenosha Sheriff’s Department and Kenosha Police Department but they are also responsible for installation of all the emergency equipment.
We also have IT and administrative staff that support the organization as well. We have a great team of dedicated, hard working people who have been here working throughout all of the civil unrest and the pandemic. They do an incredible job, I can’t say enough about the staff here and I’m honored to have this opportunity.
There is more information that can be found at our website: www.kenoshajs.org
Some things you might want to change or add to the agency?
Over the past five years at Joint Services I have been very involved with updating our infrastructure and computer systems in order to provide necessary services using modern techniques. In working with our public safety partners we have been successful on that front but the technology will continue to change. I am very interested in leveraging our technology to improve efficiencies wherever possible. A significant change for me will be shifting my focus to retention and recruitment; as I said before our staff is fantastic and we are looking fill vacancies by bringing on new employees that can contribute to the team.
How is your relationship with KPD and KSD?
It think it’s very good, I have worked with the staff in both agencies from normal day to day operations up through managing large scale projects. The cooperation between everyone is what has lead to our successes.
Your general thoughts on balancing privacy with the public’s right to information?
In general, balancing privacy and the rights to information is a significant part of our responsibility here, we take this very seriously. Our staff understands this as they handle a lot of public records requests and they do it very well. This requires cooperation and coordination with our law enforcement partners to ensure that the public’s needs are met while working within the framework of the law.