Wille is settling in well at Monona Police Department

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Officer Austin Wille joined the Monona Police Department around a month ago, and has enjoyed getting to know the community. (Photo by Audrey Posten)

By Audrey Posten, Times-Register

 

Monona’s newest police officer, Austin Wille, is settling into the job well.

 

“I’m glad to be here and really like the area,” said Wille, who started with the Monona Police Department in early May.

 

Wille grew up in Hiawatha, then earned a degree in criminology from the University of Northern Iowa. For the past year and a half, he’s worked as an officer in Belle Plaine, in Benton County.

 

“I never wanted a desk job, so, in college, I picked something I thought would be interesting,” said Wille of what attracted him to law enforcement.

 

He was attracted to Monona for its close proximity to family—his dad, Tom Wille, grew up in the community. Wille also enjoys northeast Iowa’s natural resources, especially hunting and fishing opportunities.

 

His schedule at the Monona Police Department will allow more time for those activities.

 

“I like the schedule a lot better here. I was nights and weekends in Belle Plaine, and we’re rotating here,” Wille said, which also gives him a chance to interact with different people. “You get the morning crowd, then the post 6 o’clock crowd. They’re totally different groups of people. If you’re on only days or nights, you only meet the same people over and over. Now, summer post-COVID, there will be more people coming out and doing stuff.”

 

Wille said his calls so far have been minor: a few traffic stops, some accidents and mischievous kids. 

 

He’s largely spent his time getting to know the community.

 

“Belle Plaine was 2,500 and Monona is 1,500. But Belle Plaine was easy because it was all numbers. All streets went east-west and avenues north-south. You got two choices,” he said. “There are a lot of corner houses here, where you’d think the address is this street but it’s actually this street over here. My first week, I just drove around a lot. I know the town, so there was less of a learning curve, but had never paid attention to the street signs.”

 

Wille has also gotten to know the Monona city staff as well as other members of the police department, including chief Jo Amsden and fellow officer Nick Matelski.

 

“Jo’s super nice, so it makes it a lot easier,” he said.

 

Now, he’s looking forward to meeting more residents—and their pets.

 

“We do lost dogs and cats, so some of the vet side of things, and I like doing that,” Wille shared. 

 

“I like meeting people too,” he added. “There are some situations where you’re not going to be the welcome one, but a lot of times in small towns, you can just stop and talk to people.”

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