MARSHFIELD, WI (OnFocus) – After over 26 years of serving the Marshfield Police Department and Marshfield community, Lieutenant Dennis Keffer will be leaving the department.
Keffer arrived in Marshfield in 1995 but he didn’t always know that he wanted to enter the law enforcement field.
While growing up in St. Paul, Keffer never planned on becoming a police officer, but 26 years later he can’t imagine doing anything else.
“I took one of those career tests in high school and it indicated law enforcement as one of the possibilities,” he said. “I then connected with the St. Paul Police Department’s ‘Police Explore’ program and did that for about a year and a half in high school and at that time determined that I didn’t want to be a police officer.”
While attending St. Norbert College, where he majored in Communications, Keffer worked for campus security and his outlook changed.
“At the end of college, I realized that I appreciated the opportunity to be out and about and helping people and interacting with people a lot, so then I went to the police academy,” he said.
Keffer then attended Fox Valley Technical College- Law Enforcement Recruit Academy, from which he graduated in 1994.
After the academy, he worked security at Mall of America for nine months before being offered a job in Marshfield, where he moved with his now-wife, Michelle.
“We moved from Mall of America to Northway Mall,” he said. “Interestingly, I worked with more people on my night shift at Mall of America – when it was closed – than I do on my patrol shift here.”
Keffer began his career at MPD as a patrol officer, then became the first Middle School Liaison Officer – a role he served in for five years. He’s also served as a Field Training Officer, Lead Officer, and was most recently a Patrol Lieutenant supervising one of four Marshfield Police Department shifts. He’s also been a member of the Special Response Team, Bike Patrol Coordinator, Peace Officer Memorial Day annual event coordinator, Marshfield Police Auxiliary Liaison Officer, and more.
“I’ve done a little bit of everything, I guess,” he said. “Starting off, you’re focused on responding to calls for service, traffic stops, other self-initiated activity, looking into concerns. My day now as a Patrol Lieutenant is different than that, because it’s a different role but also because calls for service have changed and technology has changed.”
During his time in Marshfield, Keffer has experienced a wide variety of calls and situations.
“You remember the really tragic ones. Those ones tend to stick with you a little bit. As well as the ones where you’re able to help someone,” he said. “Sometimes the tragic ones are the ones where you’re helping someone through it a bit more.”
“I generally think that most of the Marshfield community doesn’t know the degree of concerns or issues related to drugs and mental illness and that kind of cuts both ways,” he added. “It’s a blessing that we’re doing our jobs and addressing it and helping people and making it so people can go about their day and not be overly concerned about it. But it’s also an issue in that some people don’t know that there is the degree of concern that exists in our community.”
Keffer said he values the experiences that the community of Marshfield has given him throughout his tenure as an officer in Marshfield.
“I have been asked recently what the most rewarding thing has been during my tenure,” Keffer said. “I have valued the relationships that I have built within the community while helping through hard times, and while problem solving on a community level.”
Keffer’s involvement in the community was ever-present during his time volunteering with the Marshfield Area Community Foundation, Movies in the Park Committee, Special Olympics, Children’s Service Society of Wisconsin, and as a soccer coach and church member at Our Lady of Peace.
“We work in a very supportive community,” he said. “Just overall in general, I hope that it is well-earned and I believe that it is well-earned. I also believe that there are things we need to be mindful of and potentially do better at, but overall the community support is good.”
During his tenure, Keffer has also completed many leadership development programs and attended several conferences and workshops dedicated to different areas of police work, including risk management, managing generational diversity, and public relations – all of which he feels are important.
Keffer said he is leaving knowing that he did the best for the department that he could.
“I have appreciated the trust you have given me to make the best decisions I can within the parameters of the law,” Keffer said. “I am proud to say I have done my best for the community.”
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