The state's Amateur Radio Emergency Services Personnel/Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Services, known as ARES/RACES, is set to have its 11th annual Wisconsin conference at the Hotel Mead and Conference Center in Wisconsin Rapids this weekend, said Bill Niemuth, spokesman for the organization. As a training exercise and public service event, the group will put 25 to 30 of its members on patrol in Wisconsin Rapids and the surrounding communities. Grand Rapids Police Chief Dave Lewandowski said the organization will provide the community with two or three extra patrols to supplement the Police Department's officers and auxiliary officers. "We've got them concentrating on certain subdivisions in the area," he said. More eyes always are good, especially when dealing with events such as Halloween, Wood County Sheriff Thomas Reichert said.
"It's very decent of them to do that sort of work while they're here," he said. The radio operators will call in observations to a mobile command center, said Dale Jirschele, a Wisconsin Rapids resident who is the group's emergency coordinator for Wood County. The command center then will send any information that needs law enforcement or other emergency response to Jirschele, who will be in the Wood County Emergency Operations Center. He then will relay the message to Wood County dispatchers.