Grissom steps in as interim police chief

Captain will handle job in another personnel change with village poised to begin search for permanent hire

Emmett Grissom
Ozaukee Press Staff

The Grafton Police and Fire Commission has named a new acting police chief to replace Chief Charles Wenten, whose last day with the department will be Saturday, Sept. 21.

The commission appointed Capt. Emmett Grissom on Monday after initially naming Capt. Joseph Gabrish to the interim position earlier this month.

Village Administrator Jesse Thyes said Gabrish decided to step down from the post due to medical reasons.

Grissom was born and raised in the Town of Grafton and graduated from Grafton High School in 1988. He has spent his entire police career with the department. 

Grissom joined the department as a cadet in 1989 when he was 18. He was hired as an officer two years later and promoted to sergeant in 2006. He became a captain in 2008.

Grissom said he is humbled to be named acting chief after being recommended to the commission by Wenten. As interim chief, Grissom said, he wants to keep the day-to-day operations status quo.

“I want to keep the department moving forward as the commission continues on with their search for a full-time chief,” Grissom said, noting he hasn’t decided if he will pursue the permanent position. 

Two weeks ago, the commission agreed to hire an independent consultant for the search of a permanent chief.

“By using an outside consultant, we will cast a net as far and wide as possible to attract as many qualified candidates as possible,” Thyes said.

Thyes said the commission had the option of hiring a new chief through an internal process as it did for Fire Chief Bill Rice.

“This is going to take a little bit of time over the course of months, not weeks,” Thyes said. “It’s an important process for the village, and we want to do it right because it’s a very visible position to fill.”

Thyes said hiring an independent consultant doesn’t mean the commission won’t consider an internal candidate for the chief’s job.

Wenten is resigning from the department after 16 years as chief to pursue a career in background investigations.

The Village Board accepted Wenten’s resignation Monday, Sept. 16.

“Chief Wenten has dedicated his career to make the Village of Grafton one of the safest communities in Wisconsin,” Village President Jim Brunnquell said at the time.

“We wish him the best with his future endeavors.”



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Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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