City of Kiel Common Council members voted unanimously Feb. 23 to approve the addition of an eighth full-time police officer.
It has been 26 years since a full-time officer has been added to the Police Department. The last full-time officer was added in 1995.
Police Chief David Funkhouser addressed the council members prior to a vote on Tuesday. Chief Funkhouser stated that the City of Kiel has experienced a 24 percent growth in population since 1995 (3,189 to 3,964) with the highest growth happening since 2010. With new subdivisions and housing, new businesses and current businesses expanding their workforce, there is a need for another full-time officer. During the school year, the Police Department loses a patrol officer as a school liaison officer. Currently that means that from September to May of each year, KLPD only has six full-time police officers.
The average officer to citizen ratio in the U.S. is two officers per every 1,000 residents. Wisconsin averages 2.4 officers per resident. In 1995 when the seventh full-time police officer was added in Kiel, there was a ratio of 2.19 per 1,000 residents and in 2020 with the increase of population in Kiel, there was a 1.77 officer to resident ratio. With the addition of an eighth officer, the ratio would be a 2.02 officer to citizen ratio.
(For more on this story please see the March 4 issue of the Tri-County News.)