Two finalists named for Kohler Police Chief – one withdraws

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Two finalists were selected for the Kohler Police Chief position, which has been vacant since the end of 2018. They were Craig Plehn, Chief of Police for the City of Chilton, WI, and Shawn Splivalo, Patrol Lieutenant-Shift Commander 1st shift for the Sheboygan County Sheriff’s Office. Plehn withdrew from the process, however, a day before a scheduled closed session meet-and-greet with Kohler Trustees on Wednesday, June 26.

Plehn told The Kohler Villager that the City of Chilton and its Mayor came up with a package to retain him as their Police Chief, and the City Council voted unanimously for a pay increase. Plehn thanked the Village for the opportunity to interview and wished the Village the best of luck in their search for the next Kohler Police Chief.

The sole finalist, Lt. Shawn Splivalo, lives in Kohler and became a Patrol Lieutenant-Shift Commander 1st Shift for the Sheriff’s Office on February 2019. Before that he was a Patrol Sergeant (2013-2019), a Patrol Officer (2003-2013), and a Correctional Officer (2000-2003). His job duties include traffic enforcement, criminal investigations, crime prevention, and community policing. He is a member of the SWAT/Sniper team and also conducts bike patrol, boat patrol, and is a Glock Armorer. He is an instructor in Defense and Arrest Tactics, Firearms, Long Gun, Vehicle Contact, IPMBA Police Cyclist, and Taser.

The Kohler Village Board held its scheduled closed session meeting but took no action. There is no official word as to whether Splivalo was offered the position. The Kohler Villager was told it may be taken up at the July 18 Village Board meeting.

The position became vacant when former Kohler Police Chief William Rutten retired at the end of 2018 after serving as Kohler’s chief since 2001. KPD Lieutenant David Darin has been filling in as the interim until a new chief is selected. The Village Board held off on the search for a new chief until the intergovernmental agreement for the new Aurora Hospital was finalized.

After adjourning the May 20 Village Board meeting, President Tom Schnettler said that he had whittled about 12 or 14 applications down to about six or seven (applicants were told there were eight in all interviewed). He said it was good to hear that four or five Kohler officers had applied because it must mean they are happy working for the Village, or they would not have applied. However, none of the Kohler applicants, including the interim police chief, made the final cut.

Schnettler had also said that Sheboygan County Sheriff Cory Roeseler had volunteered early on to help evaluate applicants, and help explain the various classes, certifications, etc. that would be listed in applications. Kohler resident and school board member Karl Nonhof helped conduct interviews.

Schnettler said that he expected the new chief to be in place By August 1, 2019, but that was before Chief Plehn withdrew.

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