Police chief to retire in September

Wenten decides to step down after 16 years, with his eye on career change

Charles Wenten
Ozaukee Press Staff

Grafton Police Chief Charles Wenten will retire next month after 16 years at the helm. 

Wenten submitted a letter of retirement to the Grafton Village Board on Tuesday, Aug. 13, notifying trustees that his last day on the job will be Saturday, Sept. 21.

“It has absolutely been my honor and privilege to serve Grafton, its citizens and visitors as chief of police for the past 16 years,” Wenten wrote.

Village Administrator Jesse Thyes said the Village Board will formally accept the resignation at its meeting Monday, Sept. 16.

Thyes said the Police and Fire Commission will select an interim and permanent chief. He would not speculate whether the commission will promote a current officer or seek an outside candidate. 

“This will be a very important hire for the village. I look forward to working with the Police and Fire Commission during the process,” Thyes said, noting state statutes require the commission to handle the hiring process.

Thyes said the commission will look to hire someone with “unique nuances” who can manage an expanding village with growing residents and businesses. 

Prior to joining the department, Wenten served as a captain with the Village of Brown Deer Police Department for 13 years. In Grafton, he succeeded Howard Thiede as chief. 

Wenten said he will pursue a new career in retirement involving background investigations.

“The stars just aligned. I have an opportunity at different employment that falls within my wheelhouse,” Wenten said.

“My whole experience in Grafton has been stunningly positive. I’ve done quite a bit of reflecting, and the decision to move on was probably the most difficult decision I made in the past 16 years.”

Wenten credited his staff and officers for supporting him through the years. 

“I’ve been far more blessed than I probably deserve to be. Everything comes right back to the staff and officers,” he said.

“The staff here, the officers and police support all play a role in coming up with innovative ways to stay ahead of the curve using technology and directed patrols.”

Wenten also credited his staff for supporting the Village Board’s controversial decision to transfer emergency dispatching services to the Ozaukee County Sheriff’s Office last year.

“They shouldered that burden and got the job done,” he said. “We were moving people all over and forcing overtime to get the job done. They shouldered that burden and put their head down to address the challenges they faced.”

Wenten said he will remain a village resident and has a lot of work ahead of him before he leaves the department.

“I’m a lucky fellow,” he said. “I like Grafton a lot. I think it’s the total package.”



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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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