After four decades of service, Guttenberg Public Safety Director Joel Magenheimer is calling it a career at the end of this month.
“I mean honestly, I didn’t like writing tickets for minor infractions. I got more pleasure out of telling right from wrong, what could’ve happened, that kind of stuff, given you a big lecture, and then tell you that this is your lucky day,” Magenheimer said of his mentality when he was still a beat cop.
He continued that he recently encountered someone who he’d met 30 years ago when he was a patrolman performing a traffic stop. He let that person off with a warning, something he hasn’t forgotten to this day, Magenheimer recalled.
“I wound up getting a reputation with people and they would come in and see me and any way I could help them, I would help them or I would explain to them that it’s not as bad as they think it is, and stuff like that, but over the years: I have no complaints.”
Magenheimer retired as a police captain after 27 years on the force in April 2014, though the enjoyment of his retirement was sadly cut shot due to the passing of his wife a few months later.
However, the Town of Guttenberg did what they could to help out during his time of need, offering him the deputy public safety position in 2015.
While he had to leave that post after suffering a heart attack, he eventually returned as public safety director the next year, being appointed effective March 14th, 2016.
Reflecting on some of the changes he brought to the department, Magenheimer reemphasized that he never wanted to alter someone’s life forever over one mistake, however, that doesn’t mean he had any tolerance for violent/career criminals.
“When it came to bad guys, I had zero tolerance. When I put something in the paper that the guys did downstairs, I let you know: you want to come to the Town of Guttenberg and have something bad on your mind to do here – sooner or later, we’re gonna meet face to face,” he explained.
“When these guys did those big arrests at that time, I was in those people’s faces, no question about it.”
With a career that also spanned through 13 different mayors and included serving on the school board, Magenheimer says that despite the typical ups and downs associated with being in law enforcement, he has nothing but positive feelings about his professional experiences.
“I have no complaints about anybody I worked with. Fortunately, in the time that I’m here, I’ve seen a lot, and the average person don’t know – they can’t wait to get out: it was the opposite with me … I have no regrets working for the Town of Guttenberg.”
Magenheimer’s last day on the job is August 31st and the town is yet to formally announce his replacement, though that announcement is expected to come in short order.