Pleasant Prairie Police Department

Department History

The Pleasant Prairie Police Department was officially created in the early 1970’s with the appointment of a part-time chief of police. For several years the department was staffed by part-time officers but did not provide 24-hour coverage. In 1980 the Town appointed its first full-time police chief, Raymond Gram, and hired its first full-time officers. By 1981 the Pleasant Prairie Police Department was a 24-hour operation with four full-time officers, including Chief Gram, supplemented with part-time officers.

In 1985, Chief Gram was succeeded by James Horvath, a veteran law enforcement officer who started his career with the Racine Police Department in 1967. In 1979, he was appointed as the Chief of Police for the City of Brillion, Wisconsin until coming to Pleasant Prairie. Chief Horvath served as Chief of Police until his retirement in December 2000. Chief Horvath was succeeded by Brian Wagner, who was hired as one of the Department’s first full-time officers in 1981. During his time with the Department, Wagner had been promoted to Lieutenant in 1987, Captain in 1993 and Assistant Chief (now called Deputy Chief) in 1996. Chief Wagner retired in July of 2012.

Deputy Chief David Mogensen was appointed Interim Chief of Police in July 2012, and served in that position until January 2013. During that time, Interim Chief Mogensen was an integral part of the extensive police department remodeling project, overseeing the expansion which included additional offices, conference room, and training & roll call spaces. The new roll call area is equipped to be an emergency operations center if needed, complete with voice/ data communications.

 

 

In January, 2013, David B. Smetana was sworn in as Pleasant Prairie’s forth Chief of Police. Chief Smetana started his law enforcement career in 1983 as a patrolman with the Racine Police Department. He was promoted several times throughout his 30 year career, including Investigator in 1990, Sergeant in 1994, Lieutenant in 2002, and finally Deputy Chief of Police in 2008. Chief Smetana also served as Interim Chief of Police for five months in 2012.

 

Upon being appointed, Chief Smetana’s first priority was to address the department’s immediate need for preparedness and training. The department now utilizes Panasonic Tough Book and Arbitrator 360° HD in-squad camera systems, which provide an all-encompassing and effective tool for gathering evidence, while also protecting officers and keeping their focus on police work. Two 4 wheel drive Chevy Tahoe police SUV’s were added to the fleet, which allow much needed room for equipment (evidence collection, accident investigation, etc.), as well as better capabilities in the snow. Additional squad equipment purchases that enhance officer safety ensure we are prepared for critical incidents.

 

A commitment to training is paramount, so the amount of time officers spend training has increased dramatically. Evidence collection, accident investigation, human trafficking, animalneglect, impaired driving, anddeath investigation are just a few of the areas PPPD officers receive instruction in.

In 1988, the Police Department consisted of seven full-time officers but after incorporating as a Village in 1989, the size of the Department grew dramatically. Today, the Village of Pleasant Prairie Police Department consists of thirty one full-time officers patrolling an area covering approximately 32 square miles with a population of 20,000 residents.