police and fire commission; kenosha; kenosha journalist; uptown observer

Police and Fire Commission promote KPD and KFD personnel, discuss fire chief posting

KENOSHA ⸺ On Tuesday morning, the Kenosha Police and Fire Commission approved numerous promotions in the Kenosha Fire Department.

These promotions included those of:

  • Nicholas Eschmann to probationary division chief of emergency medical services;
  • Jeffery Wunder to probationary fire line captain;
  • Michael Ruffolo to probationary fire lieutenant;
  • And Joseph Sielski to probationary apparatus operator.

All of the promotions are effective Feb. 1.

During the meeting a bio of each of the firefighters promoted was read. You can listen to those bios in the clip below. The clip begins with citizens’ comments that were submitted in writing before the meeting, read by the commission’s clerk.

Three KPD promotions, seven appointments

The commission also voted to unanimously approve the promotion of three Kenosha Police Department officers and the appointment of seven others.

During its Tuesday meeting, the commission approved the promotions of: Timothy Schaal to interim police captain; Joshua Hecker to interim police lieutenant; and Alex Wicketts to the position of interim police sergeant.

All of those promotions are effective Feb. 1.

Seven probationary officers will be joining the KPD, effective Jan. 25, after the commission’s approval at Tuesday’s meeting.

Those officers include:

  • Marcus Clark;
  • Angel Calderon;
  • Justin Labatore;
  • Cody Cox;
  • Kyle Free;
  • Joseph Morelli;
  • And Robert Price.

The clerk read brief biographical information for each officer into the record during the meeting. Those descriptions can be heard in the clip below.

Fire chief job posting

Lastly, the commission discussed the job posting for the Kenosha Fire Department chief position.
The city’s former fire chief, Charles Leipzig, resigned at the end of last year.

In the discussion, commissioners asked about concerns such as putting in language that the new chief stay for a number of years ⸺ which counsel told the commission they could not legally do.

However, Commissioner Leo Chiappetta pushed for different elements to be included in the language, especially after 2020’s civil unrest locally.

“To make the chief responsible for working towards more diversity in Kenosha Fire Department,” Chiappetta said. “That was kind of my thinking when I was reading all through this, that maybe we ought to have something that deals with social unrest and diversity.”

Commissioner Richard Gallo agreed with Chiappetta on including it in the language.

“I don’t think that that’s a bad idea … I’m kind of in agreement on that,” Gallo said.

The commission ultimately voted to postpone a further, more detailed review of the job posting for the fire chief position to a special meeting next week.


Following the motion to move the item to a special meeting, the commission also opened the meeting up to public comments, as a caller had been unmuted and had asked to speak.

In the end, two additional public comments were given during that period.

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