Police Week 2023: Meet Ailene Splittgerber, Police Services Specialist Supervisor
Ailene Splittgerber began her professional career as a legal assistant, working for the city attorney in the small town where she grew up. Several jobs later, she ended up at the City of Winona, Minnesota, working at the senior center.
“Coincidentally, when I applied for the senior center position in Winona, I also applied for a police secretary job there and didn’t get it,” Splittgerber said. “But working at the senior center made me realize that I really liked working in local government. This is going to sound so corny, but I really love serving people.”
Splittgerber applied for a police secretary position at River Falls Police Department when her husband was transferred to River Falls in 2006. Now serving as police services specialist supervisor, Splittgerber has been with the department for 17 years and counting.
“Everything we do is to support the officers and make sure that they can do what they need to do,” Splittgerber said. As supervisor, she works with two police services specialists, Kim Fischer and Tricia Traynor. The team of three serves as the first point of contact for customers in-person, over the phone, and by email, ensuring that community members receive friendly, kind, and helpful service.
Splittgerber, Fischer, and Traynor also compile and organize the police reports created by the department’s officers. They make sure there are no technical hiccups, checking that all attachments and forms open as they should. They’re also in charge of creating a clear electronic trail for all reports, documenting each instance that a report is sent out to the district attorney or county human services departments.
“We’re the fine points,” Splittgerber said. “The officers provide the information, and we do the filing and organizing work to make sure that, when a report is opened for a record request 12 years from now, everything will be there as it should be, and we’ll know exactly what was sent where. If all 25 officers were doing this work, it would be done 25 different ways. But when it’s just a team of three, it’s consistent.”
The administrative team also handles and fulfills all police department record requests, including requests made under the state open records law and background checks. In 2022, they processed 1,100 requests – a number that has steadily increased over the last five years.
While a desire to serve the public is a large part of why Splittgerber has remained with the department for so many years, getting to support officers, sergeants, and department leaders that she respects and cares for is another motivator that keeps her doing what she’s doing.
“I love my police department family strongly,” Splittgerber said. “I am the mom of the department. I love my kids, even if some of them are as old as I am. I’m thankful to be a small part of helping them to do their jobs and giving support on tough days, even if it’s as simple as making sure they’ve got coffee and water while working critical incidents.”