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Fremont dissolves police department

On March 25, the Fremont’s Board of Trustees voted unanimously to dissolve its police department because of staffing and funding hardships. It was founded in 1882. James Card Photo

Waupaca County deputies will cover village

James Card

The White Bass Capital of the World no longer has its own police force.

Sgt. Katie Boerst will be the last peace officer serving the village of Fremont in its 142-old police department.

During the last year she was acting as both police officer and interim police chief.

All that remains of the Fremont Police Department is a ghost Facebook page. The final post on March 25 reads: “As of 4 p.m. today, the Fremont Village Board has dissolved the police department, and it no longer exists. It has been our immense pleasure in getting to know this fantastic community and serve everyone. Thank you all.”

Fremont’s Board of Trustees convened a special meeting and voted unanimously to dissolve its police department that was founded in 1882 because of staffing problems. The board struggled with attracting candidates because the salary was lower than in other areas and the benefits package did not include health insurance. The police budget is half the tax levy of the village.
“We all know that we’ve struggled to hire and retain police department employees for many years. This didn’t happen overnight,” said Board President Bobbi Marks.

“The Village of Fremont does not now, or in the foreseeable future, possess adequate resources to continue to operate, maintain, staff, and fund a police department. The Village Board does not deem it necessary for the public health, safety, and wellbeing for the Village to continue to provide its own police services,” read resolution 24-01.

Historically, the police chief position was a part-time job. The board discussed making it a full-time job because of increased tourism but debated on how cost-effective that would be. The village population is 685 but it balloons into the thousands with summer tourists at the local campgrounds and resorts along the Wolf River.

On Oct. 10, 2023, the board unanimously voted to keep the police chief position as a part-time job.

Trustee Todd Bartol said he spoke with Sheriff Tim Wilz and confirmed that the sheriff’s office already answered 75 percent of the incoming calls.

On Jan. 10, the board’s Employee and Purchasing Committee interviewed three candidates for a part-time police chief position. The candidate they selected quit shortly after accepting the position.

The village of Fremont will contract permanent law enforcement services with the Waupaca County Sheriff’s Office.

The department already provides these services when the Fremont officer was off-duty.

“We have our officers responding to your calls anyway. So, we might as well set up a police department here,” said Wilz.

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