Kewaunee swears in first woman to be police chief

Robin Mueller says she was led to the position by her two predecessors, and all the officers she's worked with had a hand in her success.
Published: Jan. 23, 2023 at 6:45 PM CST|Updated: Jan. 24, 2023 at 2:15 PM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

KEWAUNEE, Wis. (WBAY) - The City of Kewaunee ushered in a new era Monday evening as a woman became the city’s chief of police for the first time.

Robin Mueller isn’t feeling the pressure of being the first female police chief in Kewaunee’s history. That’s because she says her predecessors helped get her here.

She succeeds Chief Jim Kleiman -- retiring after 33 years of public service,3 as chief. Kleiman took over from Chief Jim Salentine -- who retired in 2020 after 20 years as chief.

Mueller credits both of them with pushing her to be the new chief, with Kleiman taking a mentoring role.

“The last three years were a wild ride with a lot of learning, mentoring, going to trainings, and just watching what he was doing, how he was being a leader and learning from that,” Mueller said, “and then being able to spread that on to the rest of my officers and, hopefully, have them look to me for leadership, knowing that one day I really wanted this position.”

She said Kleiman made a major impact on her both as a mentor and a chief, but also said all of the officers she’s worked with had a hand in her success and her rise to becoming the new police chief.

“I of course need to thank all of Kewaunee law enforcement,” she said at her ceremony. “It is in working with all of you over the years and the respect of county departments that I am the officer that I am today.”

She began as a part-time officer in Kewaunee in 1997 and became full-time only two years later.

She’s proud to be the top officer in the department in the very place where she was raised.

”For anyone in high school who’s thinking about this profession, to know that you can go to school and one day be the chief of police where you’ve grown up, that’s really an honor for me, starting somewhere else in a different community, but knowing that I wanted my focus to be here in my hometown,” Mueller said.

Chief Mueller didn’t waste any time. She already made her first hire -- another female police officer for the department.

Mueller said her next order of business is to bring a wellness program to the department, and she’s looking for funding.

Chief Mueller credits her two predecessors for pushing her and preparing her for the job