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Darlington police officers recognized
darlingotn police
Officers Ben Conway, Neftali Gutierrez, Riley Schmidt and Nick Mantsch are pictured reaffirming their Oath of Honor given by Chief Jason King. - photo by By Kayla Barnes

DARLINGTON – All of the members of the Darlington Police Department were recently recognized on June 9 for various achievements they have gathered for either their many years or newly acquired positions on the force.

At the gathering, Ben Conway was promoted to the rank of Sergeant. Conway started at the Darlington Police Department in 2010 after graduating from UW-Platteville. His time on the force was short as he decided to try out policing in Elgin, Ill., a suburb of Chicago. After a year there, Conway came back to Darlington and started out on a part-time basis. He eventually was elevated to full-time status in 2012 and served as a patrol officer on night and day shift, field training officer, K-9 handler with K-9 Kilo and investigator.

Officer Nick Mantsch has been with the department for five years and recently took over as K-9 handler with K-9 Ace after there the retirement of K-9 Kilo last summer. Mantsch joined the department in May 2016 and with Ace in May 2020. Mantsch is a graduate of UW-Stevens Point and Ace is a graduate of Southern Police Canine Institute in North Carolina. After their rigorous six week training last spring, they are both dual certified in tracking drugs and people. Unfortunately, Ace became sick last summer and was out for many months due to heartworm disease. With the help of the Center Hill Veterinarian Clinic, Ace is making a full recovery and has worked with Mantsch on several drug and missing persons cases within the county over the past six months.

Officer Riley Schmidt joined the department in June 2019 as a part-time officer. He graduated from UW-Platteville and is also a registered advanced emergency medical technician. In January 2020, Schmidt was elevated to the position of a probationary full-time officer. After 18 months, he has been promoted to permanent status on the day shift.

Officer Neftali Gutierrez is the newest member of the Darlington Police Department. Gutierrez came to Darlington when he was young from the state of Washington. His parents emigrated from Mexico and are U.S. Citizens. Gutierrez is fluent in both English and Spanish and understands both the American and Mexican cultures. He graduated from Darlington High School in 2013 and attended Southwest Wisconsin Technical College, graduating in 2015 with an Automotive Technician degree. After doing some volunteer work during the summer for the Amigos and Neighbors Coalition, Gutierrez expressed his interest in public service. He joined the ambulance service and then attended Madison College Police Recruit School in January. He attended about 880 hours of training in law enforcement and the department is proud to accept him on their team.

Each officer reaffirmed their Oath of Honor to the department. Chief Jason King also recognized the retirement of Mary Polkinghorn for her 18 years of service to the department as a administrative assistant and that of Dave Gough for his years of service on the Darlington City Council and chairing the police commission board for over a decade.