After nearly 40 years representing the Merrill Police Department, proudly displayed on the uniforms of approximately 60 men and women, the MPD is retiring its current service patch.
The patch was introduced by Chief Charles “Bubs” Johnson shortly after he became chief of the MPD in 1974. From what can be recalled by current retired officers, the patch came into existence at the same time that Chief Johnson changed the uniform shirt worn by patrol officers. The design of the patch depicted the Lincoln County clock tower as seen through tall pine trees that used to exist upon entering the city from the south, and the words “City of Parks” indicated the nickname given to the city of Merrill.
The new patch, showing a more contemporary design, displays some of the components of the previous patch, including the clock tower and “City of Parks.” The new design adds a depiction of the three-arch bridge in Stange’s Park and an outline of the state indicating the location of Merrill in Wisconsin.
The new patch was several years in the making. A local student, Reid Kleinschmidt, participated in some of the design of the patch with the encouragement of current Merrill Police Chief Ken Neff.
Interestingly, about the time the decision was made to go with the new patch, the MPD was notified by the FBI that the now retired patch was to be featured in the FBA Law Enforcement Bulleting in the “Patch Call” page of the monthly publication. The patch had been submitted for consideration by Chief Johnson in 1994 while attending the FBI National Law Enforcement Academy.
It was decided that now would be the perfect time to retire the patch and honor the late Chief “Bubs” Johnson, as well as the numerous officers that have served the citizens of this community while wearing the patch.
In addition to those currently serving on the Merrill Police Department, the following retired officers have served under the former patch: “Ches” Kienitz, Harry Maurisak, John Odegard, “Oopie” English, Don Trantow, Bruce Hass, “Emil” Hintze, “Chuck” Batchelder, Tom Schotz, “Loopy” Caylor, Jack Kleinschmidt, “Gooze” Proft, “Hank” Caylor, Richard Dabbert, Mike Kunkel, Ned Seubert, Jeff Anderson, Rick Hermsen and Mark Smith.
“All the way to their retirement, these men served the citizens of Merrill with great dedication and sacrifice and we thank and honor them for it,” Neff said.
Additionally, several other employees serving as Communications Officers or Traffic Control Officers wore the patch, including: Marie Golde, David Borchardt, Faye Clark, Tracy Krueger, Michele Jones and Donna Kampmeyer.
The transition to the new patch will begin immediately with full deployment of the patch expected by Sept. 1.
To view a detailed history of the Merrill Police Department and a roster of the Merrill Police Officers currently serving, visit www.merrillpd.com.