Wausau Wisconsin


December 09, 2018

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 Jeffrey Hardel began his career in law enforcement in 1980 as a patrol officer with the City of Wausau. Chief Hardel worked as a School Resource Officer prior to being promoted to Lieutenant.  In 2001 Chief Hardel was promoted to Inspector of Patrol Operations and in 2003 to Deputy Chief.  During his career with the Wausau Police Department, Chief Hardel initiated the D.A.R.E. program in the Wausau School District, was very active in Special Olympics and was instrumental in transitioning the department to the Community Oriented Policing Philosophy, a philosophy he uses to lead the department forward.

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.