Next chief currently police chief in Kiel
BY KEVIN BONESKE
The city of Kiel’s loss will become Rhinelander’s gain for police chief.
After meeting in closed session for about 45 minutes Thursday afternoon, the Rhinelander Police and Fire Commission named current Kiel police chief Dave Funkhouser as Rhinelander’s next chief.
“This area has been a draw for me every since I’ve been a young child,” Funkhouser said. “It was a goal of mine and my family to find a community where we could set our roots in and eventually retire, so this goes way beyond just the job aspect…. I interviewed this community as much as they interviewed me for the job.”
Funkhouser, 48, who has been Kiel’s police chief since 2005, had been one of the three finalists for Rhinelander’s chief along with Rhinelander captain Ron Lueneburg, who has been acting as the city’s police chief, and sheriff’s department captain Lloyd Gauthier. All three have more than 25 years of law enforcement experience.
“All three of our finalists would make excellent choices as the next chief of police,” said Police and Fire Commission chairman Todd McEldowney. “We had a tough choice to make.
“Ultimately, it’s the role of the Police and Fire Commission to, aside from politics, make an independent choice as to who is the person who is going to be of the highest integrity, who is going to be the one that is going to have the character traits that make them deserving of being the highest ranking law enforcement officer in the city of Rhinelander.”
The three finalists for Rhinelander’s police chief position had their final interviews Thursday morning at City Hall before the city Police and Fire Commission, after which the finalists participated in a midday “meet and greet” social before the commission went back into closed session in the afternoon to finalize its decision and return to open session to announce Funkhouser as the next police chief.
Funkhouser, who indicated he would like to take over as Rhinelander’s police chief by May 1, noted after being named the chief that he hopes to begin the position after negotiating a compensation package with the City Council.
Rhinelander’s police chief position had been vacant since Nov. 1 following the resignation of Michael Steffes, who left after more than nine years on the job to accept a position with the Wisconsin Department of Justice. Lueneburg took over as the acting police chief during the process to hire a permanent chief.