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Reedsburg Police Department celebrates 150 years

January 19, 2018

Reedsburg Chief of Police Tim Becker said the police department takes a lot of pride in the service it has provided in keeping the city safe for 150 years.

Located in a glass case behind the main area of the police department sits a glass case filled with memorabilia from the departments previous years. Items in the case include badges, uniforms, and pictures of past police chiefs. A notebook dated April 13, 1868 contains the minutes of the police departments very first meeting. At that meeting Abner O. Hunt, who was president of the village of Reedsburg, was elected as the first police justice. The police department has grown to 21 officers and seven non-sworn clerical staff.

“There’s a 150 year tradition that you have that your responsible for carrying on,” said Police Chief Tim Becker. “It’s kind of cool to know the organization your with has been around for 150 years and now I get to be a part of that. I get to lead a group of guys that were a part of that department.”

Receptionists and Dispatcher Lynn Petersen has worked with the department since 2005 and said the police department is a great place to work because the staff has a positive attitude.

“Most of the people in town really appreciate them and know they are helpful,” Petersen said.

Sgt. Rich Wolf who has worked with the police department for 15 years said the department is another family. He said it’s a great feeling for him to be a part of the department for this milestone while representing other officers and staff before him.

“I come in every day and its one of these jobs I look forward to showing up for,” Wolf said.

While some things for the department haven’t changed, one major aspect that has changed significantly is how technology is used within the department.

Petersen, who was born and raised in Reedsburg, said when she first started her job at the police department every document was handwritten and dispatchers communicate with each other by radio. Now it’s done through computers and technology which allows dispatchers and officers to communicate with each other and other police departments in the state.

“Years ago unless you had radio communication you didn’t know where anybody was you had to ask them where they are at,” Petersen said. “Now you can look at a screen and say oh so-and-so on the east side of town… you can send them messages from dispatch to their car.”

Becker said the department plans celebrate its sesquicentennial is with a new badge to honor the first one worn by the Reedsburg law enforcement. The department will also commemorate the anniversary with a department picture and spread the word about the anniversary through its social media page. Becker said for the actual “birthday” the department plans to hold a private staff party to celebrate.

“I don’t think we’ll do an open house but we’ll do a party for the employees,” Becker said.