By Dave Fidlin


As all department heads do each summer in the City of Whitewater, Police Chief Aaron Raap last year submitted a proposed 2019 budget, which he recently described as nuts and bolts and captured the most necessary expenses within the department.

When all was said and done, however, the Common Council trimmed the department’s budget $25,000 compared to the allocated in 2018.

“I tried to keep it very, very streamlined — not what we wanted, but what we needed,” Raap said of his 2019 budget proposal at a Police and Fire Commission meeting Feb. 6.

While the eventual outcome of this year’s budget was not as he hoped, Raap prefaced his recent remarks to commissioners by letting them know he was appreciative of the city’s methodical, in-depth budget review process.

“In no way is this a complaint,” Raap said of the reduced funding allocation for this year.

At the same time, Raap said the agency is faced with two critical capital projects, and he said at the recent meeting he is hopeful some of the work can be appropriated as this year continues.

Raap said the Whitewater Police Department is in dire need of a new evidence garage. The condition of the current one, he said, “is abysmal — that is the best work I can think of.”

The other pressing capital item high on the department’s docket is bigger picture in nature and will require planning over multiple phases.

The department will need to improve some of its communications hardware to keep pace with technological improvements. The project is expected to begin next year and wrap in 2021.

Beyond the capital items, Raap said the department is looking to increase its staffing within the sworn ranks and with dispatchers.

Commissioners said they were supportive of Raap’s comments and priorities and expressed a willingness to work with the council and other city officials in any way possible to help facilitate the spending process in the road ahead.

Also Feb. 6, Raap shared with commissioners:

  • His condolences on behalf of the entire Whitewater Police Department for the death of Milwaukee Police officer Matthew Rittner, who was killed in the line of duty on the same day as the commission meeting.

“I’d like to go on record to express my sympathy and support … to the men and women of the Milwaukee Police Department,” Raap said.

Speaking to the loss of three sworn officers in an eight-month span of time in Milwaukee, Raap said, “This is unheard of.”

  • Revealed the Whitewater Police Department received eight citizen complaints in 2018, which he said was about average from prior years.

“All eight were fully investigated,” Raap said.

  • Discussed the department’s reaccreditation into the Wisconsin Law Enforcement Accreditation Group, or WILEAG.

Law enforcement agencies across the state have the option of attaining accreditation from the organization as an outward sign of committing to professionalism and protocol.

Raap said the department’s reaccreditation — the sixth in its history — is one of the highest for a single agency to achieve within the state.


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