Sirovatka takes reins as Somerset's new police chief
Newly appointed Somerset Police Chief Tom Sirovatka is certainly a familiar face around town. After all, he has been with the Somerset Police Department since 2001.
On Dec. 31 he was sworn in as Somerset’s newest police chief, taking the place of Doug Briggs, who retired that same day.
“My entire career here for the most part has been under his command,” Sirovatka said of Briggs. “I owe everything to him. I couldn’t have had a better role model and chief to progress these last 13 years under his command. Taking over for him is definitely an honor.”
The Somerset Village Board and personnel committee met several times over the past few months and decided a qualified internal candidate would provide a seamless transition for Somerset, said Trustee Ryan Sicard, who is the chair of the Finance and Personnel Committee.
“The board unanimously supported the promotion of Sgt. Sirovatka to be the village’s next chief of police, which also had the backing of our outgoing chief, as well as all of our full-time officers,” Sicard said.
Sirovatka has a degree from Chippewa Valley Technical College (Eau Claire) in police science. In 2001, he began his first law enforcement job in a joint venture between the Burnett County Sheriff’s Department and the St. Croix Tribal Police.
Shortly thereafter, he was working part-time for the Somerset Police Department, Polk County Sheriff’s Department and the St. Croix Falls Police Department, before becoming full-time in Somerset.
For the past two years, his duties as Sergeant have included being the lead for concert command during Somerset’s busy summer festival and tubing season, where he tried to keep things running as smoothly as possible. His top priorities have always been safety of his officers and safety of the community, Sirovatka said.
“You can’t let anything surprise you,” Sirovatka said, who has seen it all when it comes to concerts in Somerset past and present. “You just take it in stride.”
Sicard feels Sirovatka’s experience dealing with summer concerts is a huge asset.
“The board felt Chief Sirovatka will be able to immediately hit the ground running due to his experiences and leadership in the department, both as a patrol officer and most recently as Sergeant,” Sicard said. “He understand the uniqueness of the Village of Somerset Police Department with normal staffing during part of the year and 30-plus officers during other parts of the year.
“Chief Sirovatka already has strong relationships with citizens, village employees, the school system, other law enforcement agencies and local businesses including the tubing and concert businesses.”
Sirovatka plans to continue looking for ways to build a rapport with the community as time and responsibilities allow. This includes continuing to check in with business owners, being proactive in keeping contact with business owners and the community and continuing roles in community-oriented events, such as the Torch Run, Shop with a Cop programs and school-related functions.
While the self-proclaimed outdoorsman is excited as he begins his new role, he said Briggs’ absence feels like a piece is missing from the department. That being said, he plans to continue Briggs’ legacy of running a professional and respected department.
“I’m extremely confident in myself,” Sirovatka said. “I’m excited and eager for the opportunity to lead everyone and follow in Doug’s footsteps. They (the board and department) have faith in me to continue not to let anybody down.”
Trustee Dave Carufel urges citizens to get to know the new chief and his officers.
“My goal in the future would be for everyone who lives in Somerset to know the names and recognize officers when they see and meet them,” Carufel said. “Prevention is always better than trying to clean up the mess afterward. We have some great people and they live, not just work, in our community.”