Chief deputy Patrick Schmidt shares which members of the Vilas County Sheriff’s Office will attend Police Week, from May 11 to 17, in Washington D.C.
Chief deputy Patrick Schmidt shares which members of the Vilas County Sheriff’s Office will attend Police Week, from May 11 to 17, in Washington D.C.
Members of the Vilas County Sheriff’s Office gathered in front of the courthouse at 1 p.m. on Monday to honor those whose lives were lost in the line of duty. 
Sheriff Joe Fath said this was the first time the sheriff’s office has conducted a memorial celebration or ceremony although, in years past, members of the sheriff’s office have participated in the national memorial celebration in Washington D.C.
Fath cited the 1963 proclamation by former President John F. Kennedy which established Peace Officers Memorial Day on May 15 and Police Week from May 12 to 18. 
“Whereas, it is fitting and proper that we express our gratitude for the dedicated service and courageous deeds of law enforcement officers and for the contributions they have made to the security and well-being of all our people,” Fath read. 
Captain Gerard Ritter paid tribute to three Vilas County officers who died while serving, including Sheriff John Radcliffe, who died from gunshot wounds at the age of 61 on July 6, 1911, while trying to apprehend two men. 
The suspects, who got away but were later apprehended, were wanted for holding a girl against her will with the intention of selling her into slavery. 
Also memorialized during Monday’s ceremony was Vilas County deputy sheriff Mary Mohr, who was 38 years old when she was killed on Thursday, Jan. 21, 1988, from injuries sustained in an automobile crash while responding to a call just north of Antigo. 
The third member of the Vilas County Sheriff’s Office memorialized Monday was deputy sheriff Kory Dahlvig, who died on Sunday, April 25, 2010, as he was responding to a mutual aid call in Lac du Flambeau. 
Dahlvig was 29-years-old at the time of his death. 
Mohr’s husband, and former Vilas County circuit court judge, Jim Mohr, took time during the ceremony to reflect on the tragic incident in 1988.
“I was holding court (on) January 21, 1988, when my world stopped for a while,” he said. “Mary, just so you know, was the first (female) road officer for Vilas County. In fact, in ‘88, that was rare to have a female law enforcement officer.”
Mohr said he subsequently became involved in supporting others who had lost loved ones in the line of duty. 
In 1991, with Mohr’s efforts and that of others, legislation was introduced in Wisconsin to provide free in-state college tuition for any child of an officer who died or was seriously injured while serving. It has since been amended to include spouses, as well. 
“So it always every year gives me a little solace to know that there has probably been a lot of children that have attended our colleges and universities in the state of Wisconsin as a result of that effort of getting the law introduced in ‘91,” Mohr said. “It wasn’t passed until 1995. It took a little bit.”
This year, Vilas County will be sending deputy Jason Molle, deputy Glenn Huelskamp, deputy Amanda Drewsen, detective sergeant Shyla Belzer, detective sergeant Nick Seeger and lieutenant Dale Soltow to Washington D.C. to take part in National Police Week.
From May 11 to 17, members of law enforcement will participate in a wide variety of activities, programs and festivities to honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.
Those being sent, chief deputy Patrick Schmidt said, were nominated by their peers and selected based on years of service, quality and dedication for the Vilas County Sheriff’s Office and the community. 
“As a visitor and participant of Police Week in Washington D.C. I can state that this week is the most impactful experience that these officers will participate in their career as law enforcement officers,” Schmidt said. “I’m certain that these law enforcement officers will come back with a rejuvenated spirit and true sense of pride knowing that they are serving in one of the most honorable professions there is: Law enforcement.”
Trevor Greene may be reached via email at trevorgreene@lakelandtimes.com.