Rising through the ranks: La Crosse officer becomes police department’s first female captain

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) – Women are rising through the ranks through hard work.

The La Crosse Common Council has a female majority for the first time.

Emilee Nottestad is Sparta’s first-ever female police chief.

Eau Claire’s Police Department even deployed its first all-female patrol shift in January.

Now, a La Crosse police officer has broken through the glass ceiling.

Rising through the ranks is not achieved by thinking everything will fall into your hands.

“No matter what position you hold, that comes with challenges, it comes with excitement, it comes with disappointments,” Capt. Avrie Schott said.

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Schott is a La Crosse police veteran.

“So I was hired in ’99,” she said.

It was a time when law enforcement was, and still is, dominated by men.

Schott admits she just tried to blend in with the men at the beginning of her career, but then later realized you just have to be yourself and grow.

“No matter where you are, you just have to look for the best,” Schott said. “Work hard.”

“If you come in to this profession, and you provide that dedication, that character, you’re going to do good things for our community,” La Crosse Police Chief Shawn Kudron said.

Schott’s passion is something Kudron says she’s committed to.

“She is a mental health first-aid trainer, (and) a crisis intervention trainer,” Kudron said.

She is helping others grow.

“We can be the most successful community when we work as a team,” Schott said.

And her leadership has led to her to achieve something that’s never been done before at the department.

“She’s paving a path for those that are looking up to her,” Kudron said.

Last month, Schott was promoted as the first female police captain ever in La Crosse

“I was like kind of shocked,” she said.

“It is a tremendous accomplishment for Captain Schott,” Kudron said. “It’s also very important for the police department.”

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Avrie Schott was promoted as the La Crosse PD’s first-ever female captain last month. Photo courtesy of the La Crosse Police Department.

Showing that through hard work and dedication, it proves that achieving new heights are earned, not given.

“You can be anything that you want to be,” Schott said. “You can do anything that you want to do.”

Throughout her 20-plus years serving in La Crosse, Schott started as a civilian service employee.

She also worked as a patrol officer, SRO at Lincoln Middle School, sergeant and lieutenant before being promoted to captain.

She’s also helped work together with kids in the D.A.R.E. and G.R.E.A.T. programs.

Schott says she’ll consider moving up in the ranks if the opportunity presents itself. But for now, she remains focused on fulfilling her duties as captain.