We’re not Mayberry anymore and we certainly have come a long way since Riverside named its first police chief, Charles A. Tiele, back on July 10, 1875, paying him a whopping $30 a month and the days of policeman Charlie Lange making his rounds on a bicycle in 1887. Yep, things sure have changed.

Riverside’s Police Department in 2020 is led by Tom Weitzel, who joined the force in 1984 and worked his way through the ranks and was appointed chief in 2008. I had the opportunity to interview Chief Weitzel on a show for RBTV called “Koffee with Kosey,” where he was quite open in answering my questions.

So it was no surprise to have Chief Weitzel, along with Deputy Chief William Gutschick and Lt. Frank Lara participate in a forum last month moderated by Riverside Village President Ben Sells.

The forum was intended to give residents a chance to learn about their local police force and ask questions. No topic went undiscussed and no questions went unanswered. In today’s time with so much news revolving around police, it was refreshing to see our local department is more than willing to answer questions and be open.

Though our department is small it works efficiently and stays in close contact with area departments. You may be aware that Brookfield Police Chief Ed Petrak is Riverside-raised, and the two chiefs are in tune to their communities.

This year the Friends of the Fourth chose the Riverside Police Department as one of the groups to be honored for their service. Their presence is visible. The forum, and I believe there will be more, is an example of how our police department and its chief want to emphasize transparency and their open-door policy. 

If you haven’t met Chief Weitzel, give him a call, get to know him and share your concerns, because your concerns are his concerns. Yep, the times they are a-changing, to quote a famous song, but here in Riverside we are keeping up with the changes and working to make things better, because, yes, we are all in this together.

If you missed the forum or want to see it again, you can watch at the Riverside TV website at riversidetv.us.