Baraboo, WI seeks new police chief from within

The Brass Key | August 13, 2010 | Comments (0)

Baraboo’s Police and Fire Commission has decided to seek a replacement for retiring Chief of Police Craig Olsen from within the department, though the decision was disputed and could be changed.

The commission chose to post notice of the open police chief’s job and accept applications only from within the Baraboo Police Department.

The decision is at odds with the PFC’s hiring process in 2007, when it sought to replace retiring Baraboo Chief of Police Dennis Kluge.

At that time it sought applicants from the department, around Wisconsin and surrounding states. In August 2007, after reviewing 17 applications, the PFC selected six to interview, including then-acting Baraboo Chief Craig Olsen and current administrative Lt. Rob Sinden.

Two outside police chiefs assisted with the interview process that eventually gave Olsen, until then Baraboo’s most senior policeman other than Kluge, the top job.

In June, Olsen sent a letter to fellow city officials announcing his retirement in early January after serving 31 years in Baraboo. He said his retirement is routine and coincides with the retirement of his wife, Sauk County Sheriff’s Department Lt. Miriam Olsen.

“Next year I reach normal retirement age for police officers, and after more than 31 years of service to our community, I anticipate my last day of work to be January 3, 2011,” he wrote in his message to city officials.

Reached at her home Wednesday evening, PFC President Diana Zick said the PFC had no particular reason to limit the hiring process to Baraboo officers.

“We do feel we have some qualified individuals within the department,” she said.

Commissioner J. Henry Rathjen said he voted in favor of the policy. However, he said one commissioner, Robert Madalon, disagreed with the majority. There is likely to be further discussion of the decision and it is subject to change, he said.

“It will probably be up for discussion again at our meeting on Monday night,” Rathjen said.

Attempts to reach commissioner Madalon at his home number for comment were unsuccessful Wednesday evening.

Zick said the commission has not yet requested applications from potential candidates and the PFC has not decided when it will formally open the job search.

“We’ve scheduled a meeting to discuss that,” she said.

Zick said while the commission plans to search within the department at this time, it is always an option to seek other candidates later.

Source:  Brian D. Bridgeford, News Republic

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