‘We were blindsided’: Police in the Village of Brooklyn say decision to abolish police force came as a surprise

VILLAGE OF BROOKLYN, Wis. – Police in the Village of Brooklyn say they were given almost no warning the department could be abolished.

On Monday, the village board voted 5-2 to abolish the department, citing liability concerns should officers make a mistake. Instead, they will join a number of communities who contract all policework with the Dane County Sheriff’s Office.

“It’s overwhelming,” said Officer Randy Burns, who has been with the department for eight years. “It’s sad. I feel bad for the village residents, that they were not told about this. Nobody had a clue that it was coming. We were completely blindsided.”

Burns said on Friday, Jan 29, the department was notified the board would vote to contract the work. Despite nearly 100 residents, per Burns estimation, speaking against the plan, the board went ahead with the vote.

“It’s just better that we have our own police department,” said Linda Dybala, who co-owns a downtown bar in the Village of Brooklyn. “Why it was left just to the board, I don’t know. Why the village wasn’t more involved in the voting, I don’t know.”

According to the Dane County Sheriff’s Office, Brooklyn will join Black Earth, Cambridge, Deerfield, Dane, Mazomanie and Windsor as villages who contract Sheriffs deputies in lieu of having a local police force.

Board members will be able to decide how many deputies they want and the number of hours they want coverage per week, according to the Dane County Sheriffs Office.

The deputy working in the community will use existing Brooklyn PD vehicles, equipment and office space.

“From what I hear from the customers, they’re a little upset it’s been taken away from them,” Dybala said. “They’d rather have Brooklyn police. That’s just clientele. There might be some that agree with the board 100 percent. If that’s the case, they haven’t been in yet.”

Burns said he’s upset to not have the chance to further serve his community. When his time runs out with the department, he’s not yet sure where he will go.

“How do I provide for my family? I have a wife. I have two kids,” he said. “Where am I going to get insurance from? I have two young boys. They’re four and two. Where’s my insurance going to be for those two kids if they get hurt?”