Dear editor,

Our city (Wausau) will be appointing a new police chief soon, so a reflection first. Chief Ben Bliven has done a most professional job and will be difficult to replace. He is a young man and very well liked. One speculates why he is leaving.

An observation second. It is no secret why big cities are decaying, why their citizens are fleeing to the suburbs, out to the country, and even to other states. We live in a time where many metropolitan prosecutors in Wisconsin ignore the written law, ignore real crime and prosecute only what they choose. Unfortunately, many of these decisions are made solely on a political basis with little or no regard to actual public safety. We live in a time where some police department chiefs are pressured by woke politicians to ignore violent looters, but arrest the peaceful citizens praying the rosary outside an abortion clinic.

Some questions third. Do we hire someone who has the respect of his rank and file, one who motivates them, one whose primary interest is in protecting the community that he loves? Do we hire someone who will enforce the law objectively and fairly without bending to pressure from City Hall or the activist class? Or do we emulate other failing urban areas country wide and appoint someone whose primary concern will be to implement an ideology that creates resentment and division within the department, an ideology that is more concerned about race, gender and producing politically correct crime statistics? Will we hire a real cop or a “woke” big city administrator from the outside to run the WPD?

A suggestion last. Matt Barnes, second in command since 2018, has been serving our community with distinction. He knows Wausau. For well over two decades he has served with intelligence, compassion and a strong sense of independence. I personally heard him earlier this year addressing the (Wausau City) Council on his observations of homeless problem in Wausau. He was prepared, forceful, yet polite as he offered his finding and observations to a room of activists and some council members who possibly preferred a different take on this issue. Deputy Chief Barnes has the resume, requires no orientation – and Wausau can’t afford to lose him too. And Ben, thanks for your service and good luck!

Orlando Alfonso of Wausau

Editor’s note: Wausau Pilot & Review gladly publishes commentary from readers, residents and candidates for local offices. The views of readers and columnists are independent of this newspaper and do not necessarily reflect the views of Wausau Pilot & Review. To submit, email or mail to 500 N. Third St., Suite 208-8, Wausau, Wis. 54403.