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Pewaukee Common Council votes to eliminate its police department

The Pewaukee Common Council voted Monday to eliminate its police department to save money. The city of 12,000 in western Waukesha County has a revenue shortfall of $2 million for next year.

And about $1 million could be saved by contracting with the county sheriff's department for its police services.

But a court battle is expected, because a petition for a referendum was filed Monday under Wisconsin's direct legislation law.

A related petition also demanded approval from five of the six Council members before a contract with the sheriff's department could be signed.

Dale Doman, who filed those petitions, expects to file the lawsuit along with the state's Professional Police Association.

Last night's vote was split 3-3, and Mayor Scott Klein broke the tie by favoring the police department's disbanding.

He said the department has problems that won't go away, but acting chief Dan Meister said that's not a reason to fold.

The Washington County village of Jackson is also thinking about dropping its police department to save money.

Officers there filed petitions demanding a referendum.