Butler hires new police chief
Village of Butler — After having been without one for more than six months, Butler once again has a police chief.
The search for the new chief did not extend far. Lieutenant Dave Wentlandt, who assumed some of the leadership responsibilities on an interim basis after the retirement of Michael Cosgrove in March, was named to the position recently.
Wentlandt takes the reigns of a police department that received a black eye this spring and summer as a number of allegations about past conduct arose.
Cosgrove's retirement occurred as the Waukesha County Sheriff's office conducted an investigation of his management style. When he stepped down, Cosgrove had been a 33-year member of the Butler Police Department and had been its police chief the past seven years.
The sheriff's report, released in June, included allegations of racist, sexist attitudes under Cosgrove's watch, as well as revelations that pornography had been viewed by several officers on a department computer.
Wentlandt, who was not named as one of the sworn members subject to inappropriate behavior in the sheriff's investigation, has a law enforcement career spanning more than 20 years, eight of them as a lieutenant within Butler's police force.
When contacted by the Sun on Monday, Village Administrator-Clerk Jesse Thyes said he did not immediately recall the number of applicants for the police chief position, though he provided a ballpark figure ranging from 50 to 100 law enforcement professionals.
"It was a significant number," Thyes said.
In the aftermath of Cosgrove's retirement, the Village Board assembled an independent search committee that reviewed candidates. Four police chiefs from nearby communities sat on the committee.
"After a thorough process to assess several qualified and talented candidates, Mr. Wentlandt stood out to (the committee)," Thyes said in a statement. "(The police chiefs) forwarded a very strong and unanimous recommendation to the Village Board."
Thyes said the committee cited a number of attributes in Wentlandt, including "his excellent service record, as well as his leadership abilities."
Wentlandt has been credited with serving in a number of important roles on the Butler Police Department, including his oversight of the village's annual National Night Out event. He also volunteers in a number of capacities and has a track record of successfully obtaining grant funding for various projects.
Wentlandt was officially sworn in as the village's police chief Sept. 18.
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