Columbia County Sheriff's Office supporting Lodi Police Department

LODI, Wis. (WMTV) -- After three senior officers resigned from the Lodi Police Department, one Columbia County Lieutenant and his sheriff's office are stepping up to fill in the gaps.

Lieutenant Wayne Smith has been getting ready to run the Lodi Police Department, after the chief and two other senior officers recently resigned.

"They're working a lot of hours, they're working some tough times and I'm happy to help them out," Smith said. "Essentially half of their department has left."

The police department and the Columbia County Sheriff's Office have started a monthly partnership while Lodi works to replace the officers. The city will pay a monthly fee to the county to help reimburse costs for paying lieutenants, insurance and more.

"Lodi's a great community, they got a lot to offer, it's a solid police department and I expect that we'll be able to fill those shortages," Smith said.

The city has hired a consulting firm to help find new officers. In the meantime, sheriff's deputies will help the department with administrative tasks and calls for service.

"There's going to be times when I'll be the primary person on duty and so those calls for service will go to me," Smith said.

As acting police chief, Smith said he wants to reassure people in Lodi that their police department is still strong.

"They got good law enforcement in place that's still there. The sheriff's department is going to help backfill that and we're going to make sure the community's safe, that's our first priority," Smith said.

Smith takes over as acting police chief on Monday, May 20. He said he is looking forward to working with the remaining officers and the community.