Portage police chief apologizes after sandhill crane shot, killed: 'The officer feels very badly'

PORTAGE -- The Portage police chief on Wednesday, Sept. 4 issued an apology after a police officer shot and killed a sandhill crane on Sunday, Sept. 1.

Officers responded after receiving multiple complaints regarding cranes pecking at vehicles.

Police said this was a problem for more than a year, and residents tried other methods to stop the pecking. There are four cranes in the area -- a male, female, and two baby cranes.

Police got a permit from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to use lethal force on up to two cranes.

Portage Police Chief Ken Manthey said this won't become routine, and encouraged people to take steps to remove opportunities for the cranes to peck vehicles, noting that pecking at vehicles is common, and covering the vehicles is something that could've prevented this whole situation.

Below is the apology issued by Chief Manthey Wednesday:

"On behalf of the Portage Police Department, I would like to apologize to our community for the incident with the Sandhill Crane on Sunday afternoon on the north side of Portage. We will not be seeking anymore permits from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service for harvesting Sandhill Cranes.

The officer involved feels very badly that citizens had to witness this incident; especially if young children observed this. In hindsight, he realizes that dispatching this bird on a Sunday afternoon on Labor Day weekend was poor judgment and he should have done things differently.

I can assure the public that this officer is an excellent officer and normally uses very good judgment and discretion; this poor decision was very much out of the norm for him.

Our officers are very community minded and they respond to over 1,000 calls of service every month. They routinely fulfill our Mission Statement of “Protecting Our Community and its Quality of Life by Delivering Exceptional Law Enforcement Services”. In this particular case, we did not stand up to that Mission Statement and we will strive to do better."