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Brown Deer selects new police chief

July 29, 2014

Brown Deer — Sparta Police Chief Michael Kass has been selected to lead the Brown Deer Police Department.

Kass has more than 25 years of law enforcement experience, including 20 years in supervisory and management positions. Prior to entering law enforcement, Kass served in the Air Force as an electronic warfare specialist. Kass also served as a lieutenant in the Menominee Police Department, where he earned a Medal of Valor.

Kass will begin his work in Brown Deer after he is sworn in on Monday, Aug. 4. Kass replaces Chief Steven Rinzel, who retired in June after 20 years of service as the village's police chief.

Kass said he is excited about the new position in Brown Deer, because it brings him closer to his son's family in the Jackson area, as well as other family members in the Milwaukee area. He said he is looking forward to meeting people in the community.

"It's important to me to build relationships internally within the police department, as well as externally within the community and with village trustees," he said.

Kass said Sparta, located near LaCrosse, has different demographics than Brown Deer. A community of 10,000 people, Sparta's median income is relatively low — at about $30,000 — and police officers spent a lot of time dealing with those addicted to drugs and alcohol, as well as people with mental health conditions. Sparta's police department is also slightly smaller, with 19 sworn officers, compared to Brown Deer's 33 sworn officers.

Kass was also an instructor for the state's Division of Emergency Management, where he taught critical incident management skills to emergency first responders throughout the state. He was an adjunct instructor at Chippewa Valley Technical College where he taught basic police firearms skills and taught police officers how to respond to an active shooter situation.

Kass has also been active in community organizations, serving on the executive committee for the Boys and Girls Club, Safe Communities Coalition and Drug Endangered Children Team. He was also chairman for the Aligned Law Enforcement Response Team executive committee through the state's Office of Justice Assistance.

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