There’s a new sheriff in town, and his name is Dave Leifer.
OK, he’s not really the sheriff, but the longtime Dells-Delton police officer — he has served in both departments, his current position as a Dells police officer preceded by his long-term service in Lake Delton — on Jan. 1 will become Wisconsin Dells’ new code enforcement officer..
That means Leifer’s already familiar and affable personality will become a lot more familiar to Dells business owners and residents, as he sets out to enforce the codes that govern appearances and external upkeep of businesses and residences within the city limits, according to Dells Mayor Brian Landers.
“I can’t think of a better person to do this than Dave Leifer,” Landers said last week.
Leifer’s job will focus primarily on code compliance of the external edifices, frontages and yards of the city’s homes and businesses, Landers said following last Wednesday’s meeting of the Dells Business Improvement District, where he confirmed the long-time local police officer’s upcoming transfer from the Dells Police Department to the city’s Planning and Zoning Department.
“By definition, he can enforce all city ordinances, but he’s primarily going to concentrate on neighborhood cleanup and commercial cleanup,” Landers said.
Leifer’s job will include looking out for everything from “the chipping paint, the falling-down windows, the overgrown lawns,” said Landers, “all the way to sign violations downtown, or violations if a business is not cleaning up properly, if garbage is accumulating downtown — that’s going to be his area of expertise.”
Leifer will report to Dells City Planner and Zoning Administrator Chris Tollaksen, with whom he already has a strong working relationship and in whose office he can often be seen at the Dells Municipal Building.
All of the Dells’ police officers have enforced the city’s codes in the past — with that task even falling to the city’s warm-season parking enforcement officers last summer — but dedicating a single person to the effort is expected to lead to more comprehensive and visible results, Landers said.
“If the city was truly going to be serious about code enforcement, then we had to structure it so this was his only responsibility — and this alone is a huge responsibility,” said the mayor, who at times during his three terms in office has publicly campaigned against some of the downtown area’s external decay, which he termed the downtown area’s “blight.”
Leifer will still be in uniform in his new job, Landers said, but instead of his usual police department blues he’ll be wearing “some sort of casual uniform and name badge, so people can identify him.”
Lest any local business owner or resident be concerned that a strict and unforgiving hand of enforcement is coming their way, Landers — and, in turn, Leifer, whose response to congratulations on his new job was decidedly low key as he reluctantly agreed to be photographed for this story — the well-liked, long-time officer is imminently firm but fair in his approach.
“He’s got a way of working things out with people,” Landers said. “Dave is such a well-respected officer.”