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Small-town police force urging more funding, with calls up 93%

Posted at 1:29 PM, Mar 31, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-31 23:30:10-04

VILLAGE OF BUTLER, Wis. — It's a startling statistic: The Village of Butler has had the same-sized police force since 1980.

The police department hopes to change that on election day. Right now the Village of Butler has a staff of eight, which includes the police chief.

They hope to make it nine, come next week. Sandwiched between Milwaukee's West Side and the rest of Waukesha County sits the Village of Butler.

Since 2014, Police Captain Brian Zalewski says emergency calls have shot up by 93 percent. "And all of those things - to do a proper investigation - take time and take resources, and in a village like ours, to put that time and resources in that, it's taking someone off the street," said Zalewski.


That's why Captain Zalewski wants to hire one more officer. If the referendum is approved, data shows it would increase the amount of shifts where two or more officers could be working on the streets at the same time.


One more officer would cost the village an estimated $140,000 per year. To pay for that on April 5, voters will decide whether to raise property taxes. On a $200,000 home for example, Butler Police estimate property taxes would go up $112, or $9.33 per month.


Meanwhile, Fort Atkinson also has a referendum on the ballot Tuesday. The city wants to hire two more officers, as well as more firefighters and EMTs. Fort Atkinson Police Chief Adrian Bump said Tuesday, "Our officers are very busy in the community and that's what we are trying to combat a little bit."

We reached out to every major police department in our viewing area to learn about their staffing levels. Out of the ten that responded, eight still have open positions.

  • City of Walworth: "Currently we are understaffed by five positions and are attempting to recruit to fill these vacancies," said Chief of Police Ryan Milligan.
  • City of Kenosha: "Fully staffed, Kenosha Police is 211 sworn. We are currently at 206," said Lieutenant Joe Nosalik.
  • West Allis: "Currently, the WAPD has 4.6 police officer positions open. The .6 is for a part-time school resource officer position we have open and is the only police officer position that is not full time," said Deputy Chief Robert Fletcher.
  • Beaver Dam: "We have 33 sworn officers and are recruiting for 2 officers. One was for a retirement on March 3, 2002 and [the] other is a new position create[d] 1/1/2022," said Chief of Police John Kreuziger.
  • West Bend: "We have two immediate openings and have the potential for one to two more within the next year," said Police Chief Timothy Dehring.
  • City of Fond du Lac: "The current snapshot is we have 4 openings from our original allocation of 73 sworn Police Officers. Then in January 2022 our allocation of sworn Police Officers grew by 6 due to the successful Public Safety Referendum. Total we now have 10 openings since our new allocation is 79 sworn Police Officers," said Chief of Police Aaron Goldstein.
  • City of Sheboygan: "We currently have one vacancy," Police Chief Christopher Domagalski.
  • Grafton Police: Fully staffed.
  • Cedarburg Police: Fully staffed.
  • City of Milwaukee: Has 229 open positions, but a police spokesman tells TMJ4 News the budget they are working with only affords them to fill about 30 positions at this time.

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