Since May 1, 2021, Eric Larsen has been in charge of the Kenosha Police Department. On that day, he was appointed by Kenosha’s Police and Fire Commission as “Interim Police Chief.” This publication has always referred to him as simply, “Chief.” Hired in 1994, Larsen has held virtually all ranks in the department over his almost 30-year career. I asked the Chief several months ago how he felt about title of Interim Chief. “I love my job and the title isn’t important to me.” Larsen told me. “My entire time at KPD, my title has changed many times, but the one thing that’s never changed is my name. I’m Eric.”
I spoke with Larsen’s predecessor, Chief Daniel Miskinis who told me he is enjoying his retirement. “I whole-hardheartedly support this measure,” said Miskinis who promoted Larsen to Deputy Chief in 2016. “Chief Larsen has functioned with all the rights and responsibilities of the role and he deserves it.”
I spoke with Kenosha’s City Administrator and former Police Chief John Morrissey today. He asked the Mayor to make the title change request to the Police and Fire Commission. “I believe Eric has stepped up drastically with steadfast leadership following the riots when we needed a strong leader. He should be able to be known as the ‘Police Chief’ and not ‘Interim Chief.’ He truly is the Police Chief and has went above and beyond for this City,” said Morrissey.
I spoke to previous Chief Daniel Wade. “Eric is a great cop. I don’t know why he decided to be Chief after knowing what comes with it!” Wade said jokingly. “I support the change”
If the Police and Fire Commission approves this change, which it is expected to, it will be retro-active to his appointment to top cop on May 1, 2021. It has no fiscal implications.
I spoke with Kenosha Mayor John Antaramian today who told me he was incredibly grateful for Chief Larsen’s willingness to delay his retirement by a year. “Eric did a tremendous job leading our police officers when we needed him the most. I can’t say enough good things about him. I hope he enjoys his upcoming, deserved retirement.”
KPPA President Pete Deates said Larsen definitely deserves to have the ‘Interim’ title removed. “There is nothing interim about Eric. He’s been a staple in this department and community for the last three decades. He’s been a very fair Chief that everybody respects. In my role as the President of the police association I’ve had countless interactions with Eric and the previous chiefs. Eric continued the tradition of selfless leadership for the betterment of our community and safety of our neighbors. He always supported us and had our backs as long as we were acting in accordance with his expectations.”
I spoke to Chief Larsen today who reiterated what he told me months ago. The title isn’t important to him, but he said he is very grateful for the gesture. Larsen is an adjunct professor and planned to retire on December 31, 2021, but agreed to continue for another year at the request of City Hall. He wasn’t able to teach as much as he wanted becuase he answered a call for help and put his future plans on hold.
The three previous Chiefs support this and so do I. My wife Nikki actually rented a home from Larsen when I met her. “He was a great landlord and very friendly. He would take care of the grass and snow so my roommate and I didn’t have to. For what its worth, I want him to have this title also.” Larsen has been transparent with KCE, always answering questions, even the tough ones. He took criticism respectfully and did a good job leading a large department. Thank you for your service Chief Larsen. The Police and Fire Commission will vote on this Tuesday, October 18, 2022 at 9am. KCE will be there. The public is always able to attend theses meetings.