Fifty-three applications and months later, the long search for a new police chief ended with the hiring of Ronald J. Tischer from La Crosse, Wis., a 25-year law enforcement veteran.

Tischer started as chief in Wisconsin in 2012. Before that, Tischer served in the Waukesha police force from 1996 until 2012 rising to the level of captain.

Soon to retire Payson Police Chief Don Engler started as chief in Payson on July 1, 2007. Prior to that, he served on the force under former Chief Gordy Gartner. Engler graduated from the Payson Police Academy in May 1984 in the same class as now Gila County Sheriff Adam Shepherd.

During his time as Payson’s police chief, Engler added the No. 2 deputy town manager position to his list of duties.

Engler gave the town plenty of time to prepare for his retirement.

“Approximately five years ago, Payson Police Chief Donald Engler announced that he was entering the DROPS retirement program,” wrote Town Manager LaRon Garrett in a press release. “An employee can only be in this program for five years and they must retire.”

Engler’s last day is July 26.

The town hired the professional recruiting firm, Public Sector Search and Consulting, in January to conduct a nationwide search for a new chief.

Law enforcement personnel, town councilors, citizens and town staff then spent two days interviewing finalists before picking Tischer.

Tischer’s resumé includes responsibility for the patrol division operations, commander of the tactical unit, development of policies and procedures, internal investigations, and administering all aspects of the hiring process. He also served as an instructor in the use of force, firearms and professional communications skills. Tischer has a Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering technology from the Milwaukee School of Engineering and is a graduate of the FBI National Academy Session 247, according to the town press release.

Tischer took advantage of writing editorials for the La Crosse Tribune.

In October of 2017, he penned an op-ed to support of Marsy’s Law, a victims’ rights measure.

“Marsy’s Law for Wisconsin would place additional victims’ rights in the state Constitution and strengthen the rights that are already in it, so that victims’ rights are not automatically trumped in the courtroom by those of their attackers,” he wrote. “Every day I vow to keep the La Crosse community safe. I recognize that supporting Marsy’s Law for Wisconsin is going to truly impact our communities and the state.”

The town council expects to welcome Tischer on July 29.

The only local candidate to put in for Engler’s position was Lt. Jason Hazelo. Engler publicly endorsed Hazelo and often had Hazelo sit in for him at recent town council meetings.

contact the reporter at: mnelson@payson.com

I cover the Town of Payson, courts, wildfire, business, families, non-profits, the environment and investigative reporting

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