Wainman assumes duties at Gettysburg’s Chief of Police
Gettysburg’s new Chief of Police feels like he has finally come home.
After a little more than a decade, William “Bill” Wainman has returned to assume the duties leading the local police department. He and his family lived in Gettysburg during 2001, where he filled that role when the town had only a one-man agency.
“We loved Gettysburg the first time we lived here and hated to leave,” said Wainman, who left for an opportunity that better benefitted his young family at the time. “When this opening came up for Chief, we jumped on it.” Now he is back in Gettysburg with wife, Estelle, and sons Dallas and Michael. Dallas will be in the eighth grade this fall and Michael will be a fourth grader. His daughters are Amanda, 23, who is married and mother to his grandson, Chason, and Marriah, 20. They live in Belle Fourche.
Wainman’s wife, Estelle, is an EMT and was approved last week by the City Council as the newest member of Gettysburg’s emergency crew.
A native of Belle Fourche, SD, Wainman served in the U.S. Army for five years after graduating from high school in 1989. After being honorably discharged, he pursued his career in law enforcement. “It is really all I have ever wanted to do,” he said, having been a certified police officer for the past 16 years.
Wainman describes law enforcement as a family business. His father retired after 42 years as a police officer and his brother is the Chief of Police in Lead, SD.
He began his career in law enforcement in 1995, working in Chamberlain. From there he served in Mitchell, Gettysburg, Belle Fourche Reserves, and with the Whitewood Police Department. Around 2006, he moved to Watertown and served with the Deuel County Sheriff’s Office, and most recently worked as a deputy in Roberts County. During some of that time, he also worked with Premier Bankcard, gaining additional business experience, while at the same time working on his online degree from Waldorf College, pursuing a bachelors in criminal justice, with plans on the horizon to get his master’s degree.
Wainman feels that his career in law enforcement has more ups than downs, and people are the best part of the job. “I like the fact that I get to help people. I know all police officers say that, but I get such a good feeling when I truly feel like I have helped someone,” he said.
By contrast, he said the thing he hates most about the job is dealing with crimes against children.
Of course, he also reminds everyone that a designated driver saves money and lives.
He said the transition into the Gettysburg Police Department has been a smooth one, and he credited the past and current staff for making that happen. “Gayle seems to have left me in an outstanding position. She had things really well organized and with great equipment,” he said of outgoing Police Chief Gayle Kludt. He is assisted on the police force by Officer Nick Bratland.
In those rare instances when he has free time, Wainman can generally be found spending it with his family. It is not unusual to find him out playing catch or involved in some sports activity with his children. He also likes doing home projects or catching a movie, which are all calm past times for a person in his line of work. He did say, however, that he quit smoking over a year ago and is rewarding himself by doing something he has wanted to do for a long time — sky diving. He said it has always been a dream of his, and despite a bit of a fear of heights, he said he likes to test himself when he can.
As Wainman becomes re-acquainted with the community, he said he is really pleased that the opportunity came along to bring his family to Gettysburg. “We are very excited to be back and plan on making Gettysburg our home forever,” he said.
He hit the beat in town last week and looks forward to visiting with area residents.