Leonard’s Last Day Will Be May 30
After more than 28 years serving the Marshfield Police Department, Ordinance Officer Dan Leonard will retire on May 30 at 1500 hours.
The Marshfield native has lived in the community his entire life, except for three years serving his country in the military. After being honorably discharged from military service, Leonard worked for several different local businesses, including Marshfield Homes and Weyerhaeuser.
When a position opened at Marshfield Police Department, Leonard told his wife, “I’m filling out an application for a job I’ll never get.”
Twenty-eight years later, he’s still in that job and loving it. As an Ordinance Officer, Leonard spends his days enforcing City ordinances, which involves things like responding to parking violations, attending to barking dog complaints, and picking up a significant number of stray pets and wild animals.
“My favorite part is the adventure, it really is,” he said. “You’re always on the move and never know what the next call brings. You never stop learning. I enjoy the communication with people. You get to meet a lot of people.”
Not one to boast about himself, Leonard gives credit to the department for everything they’ve done for him and the community. Without a law enforcement background, Leonard depended on his “brothers and sisters” at the department for help when he was hired, and still values their assistance today.
“I pretty much had to count on the officers to help me out, and they did,” he said. “No matter what I asked of an officer, they’ve never said no. They’ve always backed me up. They are like my second family.”
Ordinance Officer Bob Larsen has many fond memories working alongside Leonard, sharing that he is always speeding from one adventure to the next and “is and always has been a person who would do anything for anyone.”
“Dan has a unique training style and I remember one call we were on when I was training with him,” recalled Larsen of his own early days with the department. “The call was completed and he asked me what I forgot. After tortuous minutes went by, and I not being able to decipher what it was that I forgot, and Dan smirking snidely at me the whole time, I finally asked him to inform me of what I had forgotten.
He said he couldn’t tell me and that I need to think about the call and inform him of what I had forgotten. As it turns out, I told him I handled it ‘purrfectly’ and I forgot nothing. Dan asked me if I was sure, and I again thought about it and after a few moments of unnecessary additional sweating, said yes, I am sure. Dan looked at me and said ‘You’re right, You missed nothing.’ Nice, very nice, I am relieved.”
Chief Rick Gramza also has fond feelings towards Leonard.
“Dan Leonard (also known as “Dan, Dan, the Ordinance Man”) has been not only a fixture within the community but also the face of the Marshfield Police Department. Everyone know and respects Dan and he has worked hard to earn this,” said Gramza. “His dedication to the department and community are second to none and his upbeat attitude, motivation, energy, and knowledge for the job will be a loss to the community.”
As part of his job, Leonard has educated thousands of local students and groups about dog bite safety and other related topics, with help from his pet german shepherds.
“The City of Marshfield and all the school aged children really benefited from Dan’s dog bite prevention program which I know he is very proud of,” said Lorrie Krokstrom Staff Services Supervisor. “Using his pet German Shepherds has helped many children know the proper way to approach a dog owner and ask for permission to pet their animal. And I would hope these encounters with his pets during these programs would have provided the children the opportunity to allay any fears they may have when it comes to a dog.”
“I don’t do it because I think I’m a great speaker,” he said. “I do it because kids need to learn how to be safe.”
Leonard hopes to continue these presentations into retirement, along with his for-hire dog training services. Though looking forward to retirement, Leonard said he will miss many parts of his work.
“I’m going to miss the job. I’ve always loved it,” he said. “I’ll miss the camaraderie with everybody at the police department. I’m going to miss the people.”
Leonard is full of stories about the various people he’s met during his tenure, including a woman who taught him 21 words in German so that he could teach his dogs commands in the traditional training language. Another couple he encountered during a barking dog complaint ended up visiting him at the police station a week later to persuade him (successfully) to adopt their white German Shepherd puppy.
Though a tough person to replace, the department is currently accepting applications for Leonard’s upcoming vacancy.
“I have worked with Dan the entire time of his employment and I really hate to see him leave. So much knowledge and experience leaves with him,” said Krokstrom. “His shoes will be very hard to fill but the entire department wishes him nothing but the best in his retirement. Knowing Dan as I do, I know he won’t be taking it easy in his retirement but will continue to be as busy as ever.”
“He is leaving the department in great hands with Officer Bob Larsen. (We are working on some catchy nickname for Bob, suggestions welcome),” said Gramza. “Thank you, Dan, and enjoy retirement – you have earned it!”
“Dan truly believes in treating everyone with respect and his goal was to always bring forth compliance when dealing with citizens,” added Krokstrom. “I want to wish Dan a well-deserved retirement after his 28 years, five months with the City of Marshfield.”
Leonard has advice for whomever takes over his role.
“We’re in Wisconsin and you’ve got to be able to handle all four seasons. You wear a bulletproof vest when it’s 20 below and when it’s 90 above,” he said. “Be people oriented. You’ve got to love animals. You’ve got to have very thick skin.”
In retirement, Leonard also plans to spend quality time fishing on the lake, while his dogs swim.
“I’ve enjoyed my job and working with the people of Marshfield,” he said. “I have no regrets. I’ve always enjoyed it.”