By Kevin Boneske
ASHWAUBENON – The Village of Oregon’s loss will become Ashwaubenon’s gain next month.
Brian Uhl, who has been the police chief since August 2015 in Oregon, south of Madison in Dane County, has accepted the position of Ashwaubenon’s director of public safety.
He is scheduled to begin Feb. 17, said Village Manager Allison Swanson.
Uhl said he is excited about becoming Ashwaubenon’s next public safety director, a position offering a unique opportunity in the state for someone to be in charge of a department with police, fire and emergency medical service.
He said being the public safety director will provide him a “tremendous opportunity for growth” working in a larger area with a “lot to learn” in a position he would like to remain in until he retires.
Uhl, whose background is in law enforcement, said he plans to meet with all members of the public safety department to understand their roles.
He said he is looking forward to making the move to Ashwaubenon, which he calls a “very vibrant area” with the Green Bay Packers, Resch Center and business growth going on in the village.
Uhl said he plans to finish his current position in Oregon the week before starting in Ashwaubenon.
Prior to becoming Oregon’s police chief, Uhl worked for eight years with the Whitewater Police Department, where he was a captain.
Uhl, who is originally from Iowa, began his first law enforcement position in 1994 as a deputy with the Dane County Sheriff’s Office.
He then became an officer with the Janesville Police Department in 1997, before taking a six-year hiatus from law enforcement from 2001-07 when he investigated insurance claims and was also a bank branch manager.
Uhl, whose background also includes being a baseball player, said he left law enforcement because of a shoulder injury and then made a return after going through rehabilitation.
He returned to law enforcement in 2007 when he joined the Whitewater Police Department.
Uhl said he has been married for 23 years and has three children – a daughter who is a junior at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, another daughter who will be finishing her senior year at Oregon High School and a son who is an eighth-grader and will be attending Ashwaubenon.
Uhl was one of two finalists for the Ashwaubenon job along with Ed Janke, the Village of Howard’s public safety director.
Janke said he withdrew from consideration prior to Ashwaubenon’s Police and Fire Commission meeting in closed session Jan. 16 to consider hiring a public safety director.
When asked about his future career plans, Janke said he will be staying in Howard.
“I’m perfectly happy here,” he said.
The Ashwaubenon Public Safety Department has been without a chief since Eric Dunning retired June 21, after 25 years of service and 12 as the chief.
Following Dunning’s retirement, Randy Tews became the interim chief of fire operations, and Tom Rolling became the interim chief of police operations.