By Kris Leonhardt
MARSHFIELD — Marshfield honored several police officers during Peace Officer Memorial Day on May 17.
A ceremony was held at the Marshfield Middle School cafeteria to recognize those who have served in the past and present.
The event was organized by Sgt. Dennis Keffer, who spoke on the state of the department.
“Time has allowed me to see a lot of cycles within our profession, as well as cycles within society, to include a recent cycle of increased doubt or scrutiny,” said Keffer. “But I believe as police — specifically our department — we’ve positioned ourselves this past year on a public perception upswing by consistently demonstrating solid character, by being open to change, by taking time to explain our challenges, and by listening to our communities.”
Keffer memorialized Marshfield officer Fred Beell, who was killed in the line of duty while responding to a burglary at the Marshfield Brewery in August 1933, along with three Wisconsin police officers who died in 2016. Keffer said 143 police officers died in the line of duty last year in the United States, 64 of which were killed by firearms.
Recently retired Marshfield Police and Fire Commissioner Terry Frankland spoke on his 19 years of service with the city and the changes he witnessed during that time.
“The education that these young people are coming with today, it grows all of the time,” Frankland said. “It’s unbelievable to see the quality of candidates that are coming through today.
“The training that we are seeing today, it’s invaluable. But the things that you are training for today that 19 years ago were never thought of, it’s just hard to believe the things that these people are facing on a day-to-day basis.”
Also at the ceremony, recently retired officer Nick Poeschel was awarded the annual Fred Beell Service award. Poeschel served 28 years with the department and was elected to the Marshfield Common Council in April.
Lt. Travis Esser presented officers Tanner Gruber and Josh Larsen with pair of Valor Awards for their handling of a traffic crash last June in the neighboring Marathon County town of McMillan.
Larsen and Gruber had been recognized earlier this month at the Wisconsin Professional Police Association’s convention, where they received a meritorious award.
Larsen then commended two bystanders, recent Columbus Catholic High School graduates Jared Fleischmann and Hannah Stratman, who assisted at the accident scene.
Receiving the department’s Employee of the Year award was Detective Derek Iverson.
The service is an annual event hosted by the Marshfield Professional Police Association.