Lt. Mike Hartwell is retiring after 28 years with the West Bend Police Department. “It’s time for a change,” said Hartwell. “I had mixed emotions on retiring but it’s time for a change of pace.”
Hartwell was 24 when he started as a patrolman. Jim Skidmore was chief of police at the time. In 2004 Hartwell was promoted to detective and in May 2011 he was promoted to lieutenant.
Over the years Hartwell, 52, has been involved in a number of memorable cases including the July 1, 2005 robbery of U.S. Bank.
“Van Beek and I were going out to pick up a forgery suspect and a call came across from a citizen inside the bank that it was being robbed,” he said. “When the guy came out of the bank he jumped on a bike and tried riding east and we were parked right there and the guy hit the curb, went head over heels, money flying all over and he dropped the gun.”
Hartwell said they eventually took him into custody.
During his years with the department Hartwell has also been an integral part of the Police Explorer program. “I’ve been an adviser for 18 years,” he said. “Over the last 14 years the West Bend P.D. has hired six Explorers to our post and over the four years Explorers from our program have been hired by McFarland Police Department, Madison Capitol Police, Town of Brookfield, UW-Oshkosh Police and Hartford Police Department.”
Hartwell will begin work for Shorewest Realty in January. His last day with WBPD is today, December 18.