BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON – The Fort Madison Police Department will see its fourth police chief in as many years after city officials approved the hiring of a former Wisconsin sheriff to lead the department.
The Fort Madison City Council approved the recommendation by City Manager David Varley to hire Mark Rohloff of Monroe, Wis. with a unanimous 7-0 vote.
Rohloff is the third police chief in a row that has been hired from outside the department, but he said after being hired, now is the time to tap into the resources of the current department and build relationships.
It’s going to be important for me to develop a good relationship with the people that are here,” Rohloff said.
“Making sure that these people understand that even though they were not selected for the post, they’re still considered very valuable to the city. Their knowledge and background and services are still quite necessary and I hope to be able to capitalize on that.”
Varley’s decision to pull internal candidates from a final pool of six that were selected after interview panels, when narrowing the field to three, drew some reaction from current department staff and former police Chief Sam Lozano.
Councilman Chad Cangas said he was “extremely skeptical” of the city going outside the department again.
“I think some of the issues were addressed by David prior to getting Mr. Rohloff in here, but also the man has put my mind at ease,” Councilman Chad Cangas said.
“I feel good about having you here.”
Mayor Brad Randolph said Rohloff’s credentials speak for themselves and commended Varley on the search process and handling of the interim.
“We appreciate him considering our community and making it a part of his own,” Randolph said. “And, David, I think you did a great job in the process and bringing this full circle, as well as handling the interim situation. I think that’s worked out very well.”
Councilman Chris Greenwald said he would like to see this decision going forward being left in the hands of the City Manager and not need council approval. Current city code indicates the City Manager can make the appointment, subject to City Council approval.
Rohloff has 40 years experience in law enforcement including a seven-year stint at Brodhead Police Department, 13 months of which he served as interim police chief; five years with the Janesville Police Dept. as a patrolman; 21 years with the Monroe Police Department as a lieutenant before receiving a Governor’s appointment to fill a vacancy in the Green County Sheriff’s Office, all in Wisconsin.
He served in that capacity overseeing a staff of 70 until his term expired on Jan. 1 of this year.
He did his law enforcement academy training at Blackhawk College in Janesville, Wisconsin and the attended the Northwestern School of Police Staff & Command in 2008. He’s also served with the United States Air Force and the Wisconsin National Guard.
He said his policing is all about teamwork.
“Policing is all team-based and I can’t accomplish the job alone,” he said.
“You need everyone from the newest person hired all the way to senior administration to make this thing work. It’s a profession and a high-honored tradition and you need to make sure we’re all on the same page as to what we want to accomplish. It isn’t about us, it’s about the job we’re doing.”