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In Memoriam: Former Police Chief, Mayor Remembered

Dennis McIntosh, a former Sturgeon Bay mayor and police chief, is being remembered by those who worked with him. McIntosh, 76, died Saturday, Nov. 25.

McIntosh, whose funeral was set for Friday at 11 am at the Forbes Funeral Home in Sturgeon Bay, became a deputy for the DuPage County Sheriff’s Department in Illinois before moving to Wisconsin in 1978 and working in law enforcement for another 25 years, ending as the Sturgeon Bay Police Department’s chief in 2003.

He was a captain for the SBPD in 1999 when he took over as chief following the death of then-chief Michael Nordin. 

The SBPD’s current assistant chief, Dan Brinkman, said he remembers McIntosh as someone who was fair and a man of integrity.

Brinkman, who has been with the department for more than 30 years, said he was a patrol officer who worked nights when McIntosh was chief, and credits McIntosh for approving his attendance to the FBI’s national academy and thereby helping him move up the police ranks.

A current SBPD patrol officer who also served in the department while McIntosh was chief, Joe Bilodeau, credits McIntosh for giving him his first patrol job in 2001 after having worked for the Door County Sheriff’s Department.

“He was a great chief,” he said.

Bilodeau, who noted he previously changed out tapes of a VHS recorder in the trunk of a squad car after an eight-hour shift, said McIntosh supported technical advancements for the SBPD to equip the squad cars with cameras and computers.

One Term as Mayor

Following his retirement from the SBPD, McIntosh was elected mayor in 2004 when he defeated the one-term incumbent, Colleen Crocker-MacMillin, the city’s first female mayor.

McIntosh, who served only one three-year term and didn’t seek re-election in 2007, was involved in obtaining state funding to construct a third bridge across the Bay of Sturgeon Bay between Maple and Oregon Street, as well as seeking the construction of a new City Hall, where the police and fire departments also relocated.

The SBPD had been housed in the basement where the Door County Government Center is located, and what is now the Sturgeon Bay Fire Company restaurant was the site of the fire department’s east-side station.  

Community development director Marty Olejniczak said he remembers McIntosh deciding not to run for re-election after what he had accomplished in one term, which also included seeking the redevelopment of the former Peterson Builders property along the city’s east-side Waterfront.

The city’s treasurer and finance director, Val Clarizio, described McIntosh as a “go-getter” and “a guy to get things done” as mayor.

The city’s current mayor, David Ward, said he found it to be a “very unusual career” for someone to have been a police chief who later became mayor. 

From 2004 to 2016, McIntosh had another career at Baylake Bank as its corporate security officer.