For Waupaca police, service to the community goes beyond arrests and traffic stops.
Service also means helping families in need.
This past Christmas, officers reached out to two families who needed financial assistance.
Waupaca Police Chief Tim Goke recently shared thank-you notes and calls with the Police and Fire Commission that his office had received regarding a number of officers.
One of the notes was for two children’s car safety seats.
Goke said friends of a family that had been in a serious car crash approached Detective Sgt. Brian Hoelzel for assistance.
“The father died in that car accident and the mother was severely injured,” Goke said in his report to the commission. “In the vehicle were two car seats for their infant children that were destroyed.”
Goke’s report noted that the family had extensive medical expenses and little income. The children were ages 2 and 4 and the seats are necessary in order to transport them.
“They asked if we had free car seats at the police department, which we did not,” Hoelzel told the Waupaca County Post.
Hoelzel gave the friend contact information for the Pregnancy Information Center and the county Health and Human Services Department.
“I told the family if they could not get any help to come back to the police department,” Hoelzel said.
When the family returned, Waupaca officers donated the money to buy the seats.
“Det. Hoezel along with Officers Diana Flatoff, Brett Rodenz and Administrative Assistant Jeri Allen donated the funds necessary to purchase two new child car seats,” Goke noted in his report.
“We have always adopted families at Christmas time,” Hoelzel said. “Christmas is about celebrating families and for those families who are less fortunate, we are trying to make a difference.”
Hoelzel said the department’s efforts are usually anonymous.
Another gesture of goodwill was performed by an officer who asked the chief that he not be recognized.
The officer was assisting in an investigation. They were at the home of a young married couple with an infant child.
“During the course of the investigation, it was found that the male subject had a warrant for his arrest due to a minor traffic fine which had not been paid,” Sgt. John Helgeson noted in his performance report. “It was found that the residence was neat and clean and the child was well taken care of, but it was apparent and also mentioned by the couple that they were struggling with financial issues. The male subject was subsequently arrested for the warrant.”
The story, however, does not end there. The officer went home, took some of his own family’s diapers and baby wipes, and brought them to the couple’s home.
Goke learned of this incident when the woman’s father called and asked for the officer’s name. When Goke asked why, the father said his daughter was so emotional from the act of kindness that she had forgotten the officer’s name. When she first told her father what had happened, she began to cry.
“His actions demonstrate his ability to perform his job and yet be compassionate to those in need,” Helgeson said in his report.