TOWN OF DELAVAN POLICE DEPARTMENT
On July 5th, 1913, the Delavan Lake Improvement Association initiated the hiring of
two police officers which were to be paid jointly by the DLIA and the Town of Delavan. These
officers became the first to patrol the town under the governmental authority of
the town. Thus begins the era of the Town of Delavan Police Department.
The first officers hired began their duties on motorcycles and were only employed
during the spring, summer and autumn months with the Walworth County Sheriff's
Office taking over during the winter months. The officers’ duties, as they are
now a century later, were to enforce the traffic, ordinance and criminal
laws. Speeding and reckless driving by early automobiles caused such
disturbances among those who traveled by horse and carriage, still the primary
mode of transportation, that the enforcement of these two laws were
considered the most important by the town's citizens.
Beginning in 1943, the Town of Delavan decided to
incorporate to a year round police department with George Sawyer named as the
first chief of police. The first police car purchased was a 1942 Ford for $850.
Due to the fact that there was no room in the town hall, built in 1931, and
there were no other town buildings in existence, the TDPD operated out of Chief
Sawyer's house on Inlet Shore Dr.
With the ever increasing usage of Delavan Lake,
the town decided to adopt boating ordinances in 1948 and working in conjunction
with the DLIA, a boat was outfitted for police patrol. Delavan Lake
became one of the first inland lakes in the United States to
have its own police patrol. Funding from the DLIA helped the
town cover the associated costs.
In 1972, the Town of Delavan built an addition to the north end of
the town hall. This addition housed areas for the town government and a one
room office for the police department. This marks the first time the police
department is run out of a town building. Prior to this, for almost 30 years
the police department operated out of the police chiefs' houses in various
parts of the town.
In 1993, the Town of Delavan Police Department moved to the small building across
the parking lot from the town hall which was purchased from the Delavan Lake
Sanitary District. The facility provided more room but with steadily increasing
calls for service, the amount of officers needed to handle the calls also
increased. This resulted in an overcrowded and an unsafe building, which was
never designed as a police facility.
With the assistance of the town citizens, a new police
facility was authorized by the voters at the annual Town of Delavan budget meeting in
November of 2003. The new building was officially opened on June 12, 2006.
Currently, the Town of Delavan Police Department consists of a chief, lieutenant, 1 detective-sergeant,
1 patrol sergeant, and 25 full and part-time officers averaging 6000 calls for service each year.
Officers patrol approximately 32 square miles both on the land and on the water.
Research provided by Det. Sgt. Erik Voss