Police Chief Jacobs to Retire in June
After seven years in Whitefish Bay, chief plans to turn in his badge in June for a life of golfing, bicycling and traveling.
After seven years at the head of the Whitefish Bay Police Department, Chief Robert Jacobs has announced he will retire effective June 29.
Jacobs' career in law enforcement began nearly 42 years ago, when after serving in the Navy and working construction, he took a job as an officer in Thiensville, where he stayed for 4-1/2 years before taking a patrolman job in Brookfield.
He rose through the ranks of that department over the course of 26 years as corporal, sergeant, inspector, and for the last six years, as the police chief. After seven years in Bay, Jacobs said he is retiring with mixed emotions.
"It’s been an enjoyable seven years, and I have an excellent group of officers to work with," he said. "I still love coming to work every day and have met so many nice people in the community."
He said the crime rate has stayed consistently low during his time as the police chief, which he attributes to the hard work of his officers. While there were one or two years in which the village and other North Shore communities saw an uptick in home burglaries, he said collaboration among area chiefs led to most of those cases ending in arrests.
Shorewood Police Chief David Banaszynski said Jacobs' experience in the field, including his work as head of a dispatch center, has been extremely valuable during talks about the North Shore consolidated dispatch center and law enforcement overall.
"Bob is a consummate professional. I always knew that I could turn to him for guidance," Banaszynski said. "I'm really going to miss Bob and the close relationship we had."
Aside from crime and arrests, Jacobs said the department is always striving to stay up to date with new technology and undergoing training. The department has also worked to make residents more aware of more serious crimes through e-mail alerts and updates to the village website.
"I think it used to be that people didn’t want to advertise when crimes were happening — almost like it’s a black mark against the community," he said. "But by putting updates on the website, we are sharing things with the public, so they’re aware of what’s going on and can take preventive actions."
Looking forward to the future, it is unclear how the police department will be structured, depending how Shorewood and Whitefish Bay officials move forward with Banaszynski's proposal to merge the two departments — an idea Jacobs said is worth considering as municipal budgets tighten. He said he will provide information and statistics to village trustees when those talks resume.
At the age of 64, Jacobs said he is not quite ready to go into complete retirement mode just yet. He and his wife have some trips planned, including one to visit their new granddaughter. He said he would like to relax a little bit by biking around Waukesha County and golfing with friends, but eventually he said he may pick up a part-time job to stay connected with the community.
Although he calls Brookfield home, he said he has grown fond of Whitefish Bay and its "small town, old-fashioned attractiveness" that other communities have sought after.
"Whitefish Bay is a unique community. People are very proud of the community, and it shows in events like the Fourth of July or the Winter Stroll event on Silver Spring," he said.