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PFC names Stigler interim police chief

BELOIT — The Beloit Police and Fire Commission took action Monday to name Inspector Thomas Stigler interim police chief, with the commission now poised to start the process of hiring a permanent chief.

The commission unanimously named Stigler the interim chief after hearing a brief overview of the department’s upcoming training activities, including implicit bias courses, and Integrating Communications, Assessment and Tactics (ICAT) training.

Stigler joined the Beloit force in March of 2018 as captain of patrol after previously serving over 30 years in the Milwaukee Police Department.

Most recently, Stigler was promoted to the rank of police inspector in January.

PFC President Ron Watson said he was confident Stigler would lead the department while the PFC conducts its search for a permanent chief.

“I am extremely heartened by what I heard from Interim Chief Stigler,” Watson said. “I know him and I know his work. I couldn’t be happier that we have someone of his caliber to step in during this difficult transition.”

The commission heard from an executive of GovHR USA, the firm potentially tasked with assisting the commission in its nationwide search for David Zibolski’s replacement following his departure to the Fargo, North Dakota Police Department as chief.

The commission has yet to formally commit to working with GovHR and has not made a resolution to hire the firm, with Monday’s meeting serving as a starting point to hear concerns and questions from the PFC.

GovHR USA Vice President Lee Szymborski addressed individual commissioner concerns regarding the timing of the process and how candidates were vetted before being submitted as finalists for review by the PFC.

Commissioners Dennis Murphy and Ralph Berkley both voiced concerns with GovHR’s handling of some candidates for the Beloit Fire Department chief’s search, citing potentially negative media coverage involving potential hires that may have been overlooked by GovHR USA.

Szymborski said a significant part of any candidate search centers on vetting each applicant, and determining whether or not to send candidates on to respective boards as a potential finalist.

“Without a doubt some candidates have in some way or the other made the press,” Szymborski said. “We investigate that thoroughly.”

Watson said it was “an extraordinary time” for policing in the U.S.

“Any candidate that emerges has to understand that and they have have to understand the needs of our community,” Watson said.

City Attorney Beth Krueger said Monday that commissioners would need to schedule multiple special meetings in order to ensure an expedited hiring process.

In its proposal to the commission, GovHR has a timeline of having a selection of a chief in 11 to 12 weeks, Krueger said.

In other business, the commission approved changes to the police department complaint process aimed at clarifying requirements needed for filing a formal complaint and simplifying the process.

Farmers have been getting out in the fields in the Stateline Area to begin the harvest. Farmers are expecting good yields, but are facing low prices for crops.

Beloit,, Janesville report 187 new COVID-19 cases, 14 hospitalized in county

BELOIT — Beloit and Janesville have reported a total of 187 newly confirmed COVID-19 cases since last week as local case rates remain high, according to municipal data updated Monday by the Rock County Public Health Department.

In Beloit, a total of 953 COVID-19 cases have been reported—an increase of 70 cases since Sept. 21 as 11,075 people tested negative for the virus and 790 residents have recovered, an increase of 33 recoveries since Sept. 21.

In Janesville, 1,064 cases have been reported, an increase of 117 cases since Sept. 21 as 15,618 people tested negative and 798 residents have recovered, an increase of 89 recoveries since Sept. 21.

Janesville’s mortality rate (1.73%) remains higher than Beloit’s (1.12%).

The age group that made up the most COVID-19 infections for Beloit and Janesville are 15 to 24-years-olds, with Beloit (18% of all cases) and Janesville (24% of all cases).

Rock County reported 33 more cases and no additional deaths on Monday, bringing the countywide total to 2,573 cases and 32 deaths. A total of 36,120 people have tested negative for the virus in the county as 1,929 people have recovered. An estimated total of 612 cases in Rock County remain active, the health department says.

Data on hospitalizations due to COVID-19 in Rock County hospitals, last updated on Sept. 24, shows that 14 people remain hospitalized due to the virus.

Of the 530 tests processed on Monday, 6% of tests were positive for COVID-19, health department data shows. Statewide, the seven-day test positivity rate average is 18.2%.

Dane County reported 9,763 cases and 41 deaths; Green County reported 526 cases and three deaths; and Walworth County reported 2,584 cases and 35 deaths, Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) data from Monday shows.

Wisconsin reported 1,726 new cases and two additional deaths on Monday, bringing the statewide total to 117,588 cases and 1,283 deaths as an estimated 19,560 cases remain active. A total of 7,142 people have been hospitalized due to the virus as 96,727 people (82.3%) have recovered from COVID-19.

On the Illinois side of the state line, the Winnebago County Health Department reported a total of 5,935 cases and 153 deaths as of Monday, an increase of 225 cases and one death since Sept. 25. The county has a recovery rate of 96.3% and a seven-day average test positivity rate of 9%.

Boone County reported 1,128 cases and 23 deaths; DeKalb County reported 1,590 cases and 38 deaths; McHenry County reported 4,609 cases and 118 deaths; Ogle County reported 728 cases and six deaths; and Stephenson County reported 529 cases and six deaths, per data from the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH).

Statewide, Illinois reported 1,709 new cases and 13 additional virus-related deaths on Monday, bringing the statewide total to 289,639 and 8,614 deaths. The preliminary seven-day statewide positivity for cases as a percent of total test from Sept. 21—Sept. 27 is 3.7%. Within the past 24 hours, laboratories have reported 41,142 specimens for a total of 5,520,652. As of last night, 1,491 people in Illinois were reported to be in the hospital with COVID-19. Of those, 346 patients were in the ICU and 135 patients with COVID-19 were on ventilators.The state has a recovery rate of 96%.