On Adam Kreitzman’s first day as Waunakee Police Chief, shots were fired outside of a Woodland Drive home where a burglary was occurring. It was former Chief Kevin Plendl’s last day in May 2020, but Chief Kreitzman, who has worked in the police department for 16 years, stepped in, beginning what would become a challenging first year.
Kreitzman talked about the year at the Waunakee Rotary Club meeting Nov. 4, noting that the following weekend, protestors took to Madison’s city streets to protest after George Floyd’s death. It was also during a pandemic, and during Kreitzman’s first six months as chief, the department lost two K9s, one quite young during a routine surgery.
“It was just a tough six months, and it really wasn’t probably until February, I was sitting down to write an annual report… and I took this deep breath and went, ‘Wow, that was a hectic six months,’” Kreitzman said.
Plendl’s retirement, along with a lieutenant’s, sergeant’s and senior day-shift officer’s, caused the department to lose 100 years of experience, “all people I am eternally grateful for that have helped me to get where I am,” Kreitzman said.
Replacing them took time, and the chief’s goal was to make the transition seamless. The department hired new officers in the past year and promoted others.
Kreitzman had other goals, as well, such as instituting a wellness program for the staff.
“I heard of this program called wellness day, where everyone is required to meet with a trauma specialist once a year,” Kreitzman said. He said he felt the program was needed, and after the first wellness day, about five or six people thanked him for it, he said.
Kreitzman said he realizes how much community support the Waunakee department has, and he relates his appreciation for that when he’s speaking to potential new hires.
“Last year, when our profession was kind of under fire a little bit, we saw more support than I ever imagined,” Kreitzman said. “We appreciate that.”
Through participation in career fairs, a youth program and an internship program, the department is working on recruitment as fewer people are pursuing law enforcement careers. The department is not hiring now, but as Waunakee continues to grow, Kreitzman said it will in the future.
The department is also seeking accreditation through a program that ensures it is following best practices.
“There’s like 200 points that we have to have in our policies and procedures, and we have to have proofs that we’re following those points. It really is a good way to hold ourselves accountable though that program, to let people know that we’re keeping up with best practices,” he said, adding the department will be working on that process for some time.
Kreitzman also plans to meet periodically with the police commission to keep them apprised and to increase transparency, he said.
Officers have spent on a great deal of training in crisis intervention and de-escalation.
“It’s been a really, really busy year. I think everybody is a lot more comfortable in their positions obviously now that we’re a year and a half in than they probably were when we were taking over,” Kreitzman said. “But that’s a credit to everybody in the department and the things they’re taking on.”
Guests: Linda Schmitz, guest of Jim Schmitz; Bob Schlicht, guest of Kim Lengfeld.
Visiting Rotarians: none
 Other news:
-The Headquarters in Oregon is hosting a Pints for Polio Event Nov. 15, donating $1 per beverage sold to Rotary’s polio fund, President Ross Maurer said.
-Sign-ups are starting to greet at Rotary Lights. The club will begin pushing to get the lights up Monday starting at 9 a.m. and continue throughout next week.
-The club will meet Dec. 23 and 30; members will sing at Waunakee Manor on Dec. 23.
Birthdays: None.
Anniversaries: None.
Greeters:Nov. 11, Erick Plumb and Angie Ramos; Nov. 18, Corey Randl, and Tom Roepke; Dec. 2, David Rupp and Troy Salisbury.