The brothers of St. Croix Masonic Lodge 56 of Hudson invited members of the Hudson Police Department and Hudson emergency medical technicians to a spaghetti dinner on Saturday, July 27. Worshipful Master H. Scott Paulson introduced Sgt. Todd Pearson and James Wildman to the brothers following dinner.
During a question-and-answer session, the officers, who are long-term members of the force, addressed some concerns by the brothers ranging from parking to some of the challenges they face every day. In the comments, the officers shared the increase of meth and other serious drug use to be a very serious problem in Hudson. As they put it, "after all, we are just off I-94 which is along the corridor between Chicago and the Twin Cities."
The officers also said mental health issues make their job more difficult. One of the major challenges is not having facilities close by to help people struggling with mental health issues get the help they need. The closest facilities are in Eau Claire but they are usually full. The other major facility is in Winnebago, five hours from Hudson. It takes two officers to make the 10-hour drive.
"It makes for a long shift," said Wildman.
Both officers urged the community to consider a mental health facility closer to home.
Wildman also sees mental health an issue in his work with school children. One question was how do you deal with school children with issues, Wildman quoted a line from the movie Road House, when Patrick Swazey was asked how to deal with hostile patrons he answered "be nice." It is just that simple.
Even with all of the challenges, the officers said we both "love what we do" and wouldn't have it any other way.
"The people of Hudson are very supportive of the Police Dept," said Paulson.