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East River Trail assault sparks interest in De Pere neighborhood watch programs 

The De Pere Police Department informs residents how to be engaged neighbors after the Oct. 5 incident

By Erin Hunsader

After a “stranger assault” on the East River Trail occurred on Oct. 5, the De Pere Police Department has seen an uptick in neighborhood watch program interest. John McCracken photo

De Pere residents living near the East River Trail are working closely with local law enforcement through their neighborhood watch programs after an assault sparked concern in the region.

On Tuesday, Oct. 5 a woman was assaulted on the East River Trail while on a walk with her 4-week-old child around 11:30 am. According to the De Pere Police Department (DPP), the woman’s husband reportedly went looking for her after realizing she had been gone longer than expected and found their infant lying in the grass along the trail. 

He called the police and the woman was found 40 to 50 yards away from where the baby was found. Both the woman and her baby did not suffer life-threatening injuries.

The assault, which is currently being labeled as a “stranger assault” by authorities, took place on the East River Trail near the Tenmile Dr. and Black Earth Dr.

In the fallout of this event, De Pere Community Service Officer Jedd Bradley said some residents have reached out to the DPP to express interest in the numerous neighborhood watch programs the city has. “We have a very active city with neighborhood watch groups,” Bradley said. “I think we’re probably exceeding 40 groups throughout De Pere.”

Bradley said he believes the trails are still safe, and reminds people to, not just communicate with law enforcement, but to always remain aware of their surroundings.

“Are the trails safe in the city of De Pere? Yes,” Bradley said. “Mostly it is about being aware of your surroundings and things that are happening or transpiring in your neighborhood. Whenever you have an incident like this, whether it’s on a trail or in a parking lot or wherever, like we’ve been telling everybody, use your due diligence when you’re out and about.”

Bradley said having residents out and about creates safer neighborhoods and engaging in a neighborhood watch program is the best way for citizens to assist police in protecting their community.

“The real key component is the communication between the police department and the neighborhoods,” Bradley said. “If you have that communication going in your neighborhood watch group, you’re setting yourself up for success.”

He also said he feels like the communication between himself and the watch programs already in place in De Pere is successful.

“On a regular occasion we send emails to the groups to keep them informed on things happening in their neighborhoods,” Bradley said.

Bradley said any neighborhood that doesn’t already have a neighborhood watch and is interested in forming one should contact him directly. Bradley can be reached by phone at 920-339-4084 ext. 1217 or email at [email protected].

DPP continues to investigate the incident and as of publication no new updates regarding the suspect have been released. An online fundraiser was created to support the victims’ family. As of publication, a $10,000 donation goal has been exceeded.

Erin Hunsader is an Arts and Entertainment Reporter for Green Bay City Pages. She can be reached at [email protected]

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