History

The Village of Waunakee has a long and unique history of policing. Waunakee's first law enforcement dates back to the mid 1890s. Waunakee became incorporated in 1893 on a vote of 67-18. That year the first part time Marshal was appointed. His pay was $4 per month to start. In 1895 Waunakee opened its first jail at a cost of $120. In 1899 the Marshal's salary was raised to $5 as his responsibilities increased and he was required to feed his prisoners, the majority of which consisted of vagrants and drunks.

According to documents found in the Waunakee Centennial publication, most of the problems in the early 1900s were caused by spending too much time in one of the local saloons. On rare occasions there would be a horse theft or escaped patient from Mendota Mental Health to be returned.
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In may of 1924, the Ku Klux Klan held a demonstration in Waunakee. A riot ensued as residents of Waunakee attempted to stop the Klan's activities. At one point a fist fight started and guns were drawn before the Klan left town. No arrests were made.

It was reported that in 1930 there had been no Marshal for the past three years. This was believed due in part because liquor sales were not allowed, which meant there was nothing for the Marshal to do.

In 1947 the elected Marshal was replaced with the village's first full time police officer. In 1979 the first female officer was hired.

The population and the number of police officers have increased substantially since 1980:
Year Population Number of Officers
1980 3,800 4
1990 5,897 8
2000 8997 15
2010 12,097 17
2015 13,100 19
We are proud to serve our citizens and our motto still remains To Protect and Serve.