History of the Wausau Police Department

The City of Wausau has maintained a police force in the community since the city's inception. From constables to peace officers, preventing crime and disorder was a crucial focal element of the City. The mayors of Wausau appointed police chiefs to oversee community safety. Police chiefs falling from favor were oftentimes replaced, as local politics played a major role in how enforcing disorder and crime was administered in the nineteenth century.

In the early 1900's, the Common Council of Wausau formally created the Wausau Police Department through adoption of a city ordinance. This ordinance also created the office of the chief of police and subordinate officers. In addition, the City elected to have a citizens committee, known as a Police & Fire Commission, appoint the local police chief.

Following is a chronological listing of modern day police chiefs for the City of Wausau.

Thomas Malone 1900 -1936
Walter English 1936 - 1945
Everett Gleason 1945 - 1958
Norman Zietlow 1958 - 1964
Everett Gleason 1964 - 1976
Sylvester Gajewski 1976 - 1988
William Brandimore 1988 - 2005
Jeffrey Hardel 2006 - 2018
Benjamin Bliven 2018 - Present

Chief Benjamin Bliven worked as a Reserve Deputy Sheriff with the Chippewa County Sheriff's Department while finishing his Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice.  He was hired on with the Dane County Sheriff's Office in June 1999. In March of 2000, he was hired by the Wausau Police Department as a patrol officer.  In 2005, he became an investigator with the Marathon County Special Investigations Unit (SIU,) a joint task force of the Marathon County Sheriff’s Department and the Wausau Police Department.  In 2006, he was promoted to Patrol Lieutenant, and in 2009, to Administrative Lieutenant.  In 2013, he was promoted to Patrol Captain, in 2017 to Deputy Chief, and in 2018 to Chief of Police.  In 2011, Chief Bliven completed his Master’s of Arts in Human Resource Training and Development.  In 2017, he attended the 10 week executive development training through the FBI National Academy in Quantico Virginia.

The Wausau Police Chief is held responsible for the operations of the police department and is under the direction of the Mayor and the Common Council. The Wausau Police Department is comprised of sixty-eight police officers, with fourteen of those positions assigned to command and supervisory duties. The remainder of the officers are deployed in patrol and investigations. The department has six full time civilian members plus sixteen adult crossing guards who are part-time employees. All police services are coordinated through the police department facilities located at 515 Grand Avenue, Wausau, Wisconsin.