West Allis resident cited by police who say he ignored sign, dangerous icy conditions
A 40-year-old West Allis man was cited by police for trespassing on the Port Washington breakwater Friday afternoon.
An officer was called to the area about 3 p.m. after patrons of NewPort Shores restaurant, who had seen the man walk out onto the breakwater with his cameras, noticed he hadn’t returned 40 minutes later, according to police.
The officer went to Upper Lake Park and was able to see the man about two-thirds of the way to the lighthouse, police said. He was not in distress, but was standing on a block of ice that had formed on the rocks surrounding the breakwater.
The officer then headed to the breakwater, where he walked out far enough to ensure a warning sign posted by the Army Corps of Engineers was visible.
After seeing the man was walking toward shore, the officer returned to his squad car.
When the man was back on land, the officer asked him if he had seen the sign and was aware of the risk.
“Sorry, I missed that,” was his reply, police said.
The officer then issued the ticket.
Police have not cited people walking on the breakwater before, but Police Chief Kevin Hingiss said the officer decided to do so in this case because of the dangerous, icy conditions on the breakwater and the fact the man ignored the warning sign.
“He felt it was a dangerous situation because of the ice,” Hingiss said.
The danger wasn’t just to the man walking on the breakwater but to any emergency personnel who may have had to come to his aid if he had fallen into the lake, Hingiss said, adding he was glad the officer hadn’t walked out any farther.
“I’m not sending my officers out there,” he said. “It’s too dangerous.”
After the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers posted signs last year reading, “Jetty Unsafe for Walking. Danger. Restricted Area. Keep Out,” Hingiss told Ozaukee Press that officers wouldn’t keep anyone from walking on the breakwater.
But given the dangers posed by people walking out in winter, Hingiss said, he has contacted Army Corps representatives for direction.
In other police news, officers cited a 20-year-old Port Washington woman for misuse of 911 on Jan. 25. The woman told officers that her child had been playing with the phone, police said.
This was the second time in two weeks she was cited for the offense, and the 11th time in recent months officers responded to her house after receiving a 911 call, police said.
Officers typically issue a citation after fewer incidents than this, Hingiss said.