Dec. 31, 2019
By David Nordby
The Brillion News
BRILLION – Kirk Schend is officially wearing the badge of police chief for the City of Brillion.
Schend was sworn in at the Dec. 23 city council meeting and took over for departing Jo Ann Mignon formally on Dec. 31.
“Exciting. The realization that there’s a lot more responsibility for the whole department and to the citizens of the city. I think there was actually sadness because Jo Ann is leaving,” Schend told The Brillion News.
Schend noted that he and Mignon have worked together since the 90s.
“Jo Ann and I have been going through some different things. Obviously, there’s things that I’m familiar with but don’t know that well, and that’s what we’re working on,” Schend said.
Schend said he takes his new role as a responsibility above all else.
“Personally myself, I’m reserved about it. A lot of individuals get all excited and gung-ho on it. That’s just not my personality because I know what comes with it, and it is a lot of responsibility,” Schend said.
In 1990, Schend started in Winnebago County Sheriff’s Department in the Sheriff’s Reserves Unit. Through that agency, he became a part-time Police Officer for the City of Brillion in 1991.
Schend will reach his 30th anniversary with the Winnebago County Reserves in May. Also in May, he’ll have 29 years with Brillion.
Schend was a part-time officer for Brillion for seven years. In 1998, he became a full-time officer for the city and eventually served as Lieutenant and then Captain while Mignon was chief.
“I actually took an $11 an hour pay-cut to come here – my choice. I was excited to become an officer. That was my goal. That’s why I went to school,” Schend said.
Initially, Schend had aspirations to work for a larger department after his time in Brillion. Those hopes went away after working with his fellow officers, he says.
“This is just right. This is a good little family and we all look at it that way. This is our police family. Jo Ann is my family. Mike Alt is my family because we all started at about the same time,” Schend said.
Growing up, Schend lived in Kenosha, Freedom, Appleton, and graduated from Menasha High School in 1981. He attended Fox Valley Technical College for police science.
“When I was in high school, I had no clue what I wanted to do,” Schend said.
Eventually, Schend figured out he wanted to work in law enforcement right around the time of high school graduation.
Please see the complete story in the Jan. 2, 2020 edition of The Brillion News.