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'It's time to walk away and focus on just being me,' North FDL Police Department prepares for new chief

Posted at 6:48 PM, Dec 26, 2023
and last updated 2023-12-26 19:48:33-05
  • North Fond du Lac Police Chief Darren Pautsch is stepping down, and the village will now search for his replacement.
  • Video shows Pautsch talking about the transition.

Two Fond du Lac County police departments are getting a new chief in the new year: Waupun and North Fond du Lac.

Chief Darren Pautsch served in the North Fond du Lac Police Department for 33 years and as chief for almost 12 years.

Now, he says it’s time to step back.

“I just needed to take a little bit of time and just kind of learn who I am again, when I'm not wearing a uniform,” Pautsch said.

He said being on the alert in case of crime 24/7 is difficult, and he’s ready to pass it on to the next chief.

“It is taxing,” Pautsch said. “It takes a lot out of you... It's time to walk away and focus on just being me."

When he leaves on January 2, Lieutenant Pete Vergos will take over as interim chief, just like Pautsch did in 2011 before becoming chief in 2012.

The police and fire commission will then begin selecting a new chief, which Pautsch said will likely immediately be open to both internal and external candidates.

“By virtue of us being a smaller agency, I would think that they would probably go that route again just because you're limiting yourself if you only do an internal search,” Pautsch said.

After decades in the department, Pautsch says he has high hopes for his successor.

“I would hope that the next Chief of Police is somebody that truly cares about and appreciates the people, both in the department and in the community as a whole,” Pautsch said.

Pautsch says many details are still being decided by the commission, and more information will be available in the coming months, with the process ramping up in the spring.