Delavan Police Chief Tim O’Neill (right) congratulates the Rev. Mike Ida on 11 years of voluntary service as the police department’s chaplain. (Michael S. Hoey photo)

Delavan Police Chief Tim O’Neill (right) congratulates the Rev. Mike Ida on 11 years of voluntary service as the police department’s chaplain. (Michael S. Hoey photo)

By Michael S. Hoey


Delavan Police Chief Tim O’Neill recognized and presented a plaque Sept. 13 to the Rev. Mike Ida, who retired as chaplain for the City of Delavan Police Department after 11 years of service.

Ida also retired as pastor of First Baptist Church in Delavan on Aug. 28 after 12 years serving that congregation.

“He was a good partner with us for many years,” O’Neill said. “He has been an active partner in our department.”

O’Neill said Ida came in at all hours whenever an emergency situation required it, but also came in weekly to talk with the police officers about what they face on a daily basis. He was someone the officers could talk and listen to, he said.

“In this day and age, that is really important,” O’Neill said.

So important that O’Neill said the department is looking at two or even three others to replace Ida in his retirement from the voluntary position.

O’Neill said the role of police chaplain is similar to an officer in that both have value that is difficult to measure – influences that help prevent crime.

“We never know how many incidents have been headed off by the counsel he provides,” O’Neill said. “It is something you can’t measure but you know it’s there.”

O’Neill said Ida’s commitment and support over the years made the department better each day.

Mayor Mel Nieuwenhuis said police officers have to deal with things like domestic abuse, violence and shootings and that can wear on officers mentally, physically and spiritually.

“It is a great way to have someone the officers can talk to to get some release,” Nieuwenhuis said. “They can talk to someone who has the knowledge to be able to comfort them in those times of need.”

Ida thanked O’Neill for instituting the chaplain program 11 years ago and the council for approving it. He also said the city’s police department is very good.

“I have been honored and deeply touched to be the chaplain for the men and women who serve this city as police officers, in dispatch and in administration,” Ida said.

“The city is very fortunate. There are a lot of good people who work in the police department,” Ida said. “I am awed at how professional they are.”

Ida said he has seen Delavan police officers show great restraint in very stressful situations and provide counsel to members of the public that would make professional counselors and pastors proud because of how on target the counsel was.

“You cannot pay them enough,” Ida said. “I hope you (the council) do your very best to make sure they are cared for, encouraged and supported.”

Ida said police officers risk their lives every day and things are getting worse, not better, in society for them.

After the meeting, Ida said the police chaplain position is a vital ministry. He said he enjoyed the ride-alongs most as he was able to support the officers.

“The general public does not know what officers have to put up with,” he said. “They are doing a heck of a job.”

Ida said the officers deal with a lot, and he was able to help them deal with it.

“When bad things happen, these guys feel that,” he said. “I can help them deal with the emotions that come with that.”

Additions approved

The council approved the addition of an exterior storage area to the Community Shopper building at 120 S. Wright St. The storage area will cover about a third of an acre and part of the plan involves doubling the size of an existing storm water retention pond at the site.

Nieuwenhuis said he voted against the addition as a member of the Plan Commission because he had concerns about the storm water plan, but he said those concerns have been addressed.

Kyle Holdings LLC has an active contract on the building and plans to move its wholesale distribution company called Millennium to the site from Lake Geneva along with 27 administrative and sales positions. James Kyle said five additional positions could be added within a year.

Community Shopper consolidated its printing operations into its Janesville facility in July. Administrator Denise Pieroni said the company might keep a sales office in the area but the location of it might be contingent on available office space that meets its needs.

The council also approved the addition of a 1,376-square-foot addition to the rear of Anytime Fitness at 1420 E. Geneva St. that will include an enclosed garbage enclosure.

 Mural location

The council approved the location of a mural that will honor FranCisco Vargas, who served as co-project leader for the Rodriguez Brothers Potato Farm mural that was painted in downtown Delavan as part of the Walldog event in June 2015. Vargas died of cancer in September 2015.

The mural will be located on the building at 103 N. Second St., the home of the Hawk’s Nest Bar next to the Baymont Inn. The mural, developed by Brenda Manor, was painted in Marshall, Ill., at the 2016 Walldog event and will be transported to Delavan, the site of the last Walldog event Vargas was able to attend, for permanent display.

 Squad vehicles

      The council approved the purchase of three 2017 Ford Explorer Interceptors from Ewald Automotive Group at a cost of $27,105 per vehicle. Alderman Bruce DeWitt said the city received two bids but the second bid, from Kunes Country, arrived after the due date. The Finance Committee still considered both bids but found the Ewald bid saved the city about $900 per vehicle.

 School Board

Nieuwenhuis read a proclamation recognizing the Delavan-Darien School Board as Wisconsin School Board Appreciation Week approaches Oct. 2 to 8.


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