Village of East Troy Police Chief Jeremy Swendrowski stands next to some the awards and medals he’s won as a marathon runner. Swendrowski said physical exercise is one of the ways he keeps the stresses of being a law enforcement officer at bay. (Tracy Ouellette photo)

Chief of police, deputy settle into new positions

By Tracy Ouellette

SLN Staff

The new police chief and deputy chief in the Village of East Troy are busy getting accustomed to their new roles, but still found time to answer a few questions about who they are and what they bring to the police force.

Chief Jeremy Swendrowski and Deputy Chief Mark Rather were officially sworn in Jan. 5, but Swendrowski has been with the village police department since 1998 and Rather has been a police officer with the West Milwaukee PD since 2000.

Swendrowski, who was the deputy chief under former chief, Al Boyes, was promoted to chief and Rather was hired to fill the open deputy position.

Swendrowski, 46, is the father of two boys, Carter, 9, and Breckin, 6. He said being a father was the most important thing in his life and spends as much time with his kids as he can, even coaching youth basketball and baseball that his boys are in.

“We go about 4 to 5 days a week,” he said. “It keeps them busy and me involved.”

Swendrowski said he was still adjusting to the new position, but was enjoying the challenge.

“I try to have a close relationship with my officers and all of our officers work so well together, it makes my job so much easier,” he said. “I’ve talked to other chiefs and command staff dealing with personnel issues and I’m so grateful we just don’t have that here.”

Swendrowski credits Boyes’ mentorship and guidance over the years for his ability to move up in the chain of command and take over the top spot.

“I couldn’t have asked for a better mentor and everything he did for my career,” he said.

Swendrowski said that while the Village of East Troy doesn’t have the same issues often seen in big cities, they still deal with drug epidemic, sexual assault and in more cases than he’d like, poverty.

“Drugs are everywhere, we’re just like every community that way,” he said. “It’s a health and community issue as much as a police department issue.”

With these types of issues seen on an almost daily basis, law enforcement personnel often seek outlets for stress and Swendrowski is no different.

“I work out,” he said. “I try to run 25 to 30 miles a week and get to the gym four to five times a week. I’ve found that lifting weights really clears my mind and makes me feel better about myself.”

He also said the police department’s officers are very supportive of each other and that was a big help as well.

As for the future, he doesn’t have specific plans for any big changes as he was part of creating the PD that exists now, but isn’t opposed to change if he finds it’s needed.

“Right now, I’m focused on getting the new deputy chief up to speed,” he said.

The most important thing Swendrowski said he wants people to know his door is always open and that he was there to serve and help out wherever possible.

“I’m here to help, I take great pride that I’m in this role, that I grew up in East Troy and can now lead the police department. I’ve been part of this community for so long it’s led me to where I am now able to give back. That’s important to me.”

Deputy Chief Mark Rather is getting settled into his new role in the Village of East Troy. (Tracy Ouellette photo)

There’s a new deputy in town

Mark Rather said he’s still learning the ropes, having just started about 10 days ago, but is excited to be in East Troy and this next phase of his career.

Rather also said his family was the most important thing in his life, and he spends much of his vacation traveling with his wife and three daughters.

“We stay very active,” he said. “My wife teaches and all three girls are all involved in different sports. I’ve coached all three of them basketball. They all play that and each has an additional sport. So we’re busy.”

Rather said starting over in a new department has shown him how he was sort of on “auto pilot” and now he’s looking at everything with new eyes.

“Some parts of the job are the same everywhere, but you can get to a point where you’re on cruise control and I was there,” he said. “Coming here is really nice and everyone has been so helpful. I like the small town, it suits me and it’s moved me out of my comfort zone, which is a good thing. I look forward to getting to know the community and the people in it. I’ll be out there introducing myself, and, of course, my door’s always open.”


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