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October 2004

Deputy Susan Bader

Kewaunee County (WI) Sheriff's Department

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund (NLEOMF) has announced the selection of Deputy Susan Bader of the Kewaunee County (WI) Sheriff's Department as its Officer of the Month for October 2004. Deputy Bader has served with the department since December 1996.

On May 31, 2004, Kewaunee County and the surrounding areas were flooding as a result of record-breaking rainfall. The West Twin River, which borders Brown and Kewaunee counties, was at its highest level in recorded history. The powerful current that had formed in the river and poured into nearby roads made driving extremely dangerous.

At 9:14 PM, Deputy Bader received a report that a vehicle had been stranded in high rushing water on Irish Road, an area in which the flooding was most severe. Initially told that the vehicle was unoccupied, when Deputy Bader arrived at the scene witnesses stated that there might be people in the car. With limited visibility all Deputy Bader could see looking out into the water was the fading glow of the headlights which were all but immersed. Using the patrol car's public address system, she asked that if there were occupants in the vehicle that they make a signal in return. Realizing that if someone was in the vehicle an injury might preclude them from signaling back, Deputy Bader entered the ominous waters and made her way to the vehicle.

Waist deep in water, Deputy Bader found an elderly couple trapped in the car. They were suffering from extreme cold, frozen in fear and helpless in the midst of danger. Deputy Bader assured them that she would get them onto dry land and gave them instructions on how to proceed back to safety. As she guided the couple back to land, the 71 year-old woman fell underwater, bringing her husband and Deputy Bader down with her. The situation went from bad to worse when the current began to tow the 75-year-old gentleman toward a ditch that held extremely deep water.

Before being able to help the gentleman, Deputy Bader had to get his wife to a safer place. Once that was accomplished, Deputy Bader swam out to where she had last seen the elderly man, grabbed him by his shirt and pulled him back to shallower water. With the help of a witness on shore, she led the couple onto dry land, where she attempted to keep them warm and provide preliminary first aid until the EMS crew arrived to transport the couple to a nearby hospital. There is no doubt that Deputy Bader's brave action and honed skills saved two lives that night.

Although she is a hero in every sense of the word, it is not only Deputy Bader's courage that makes her supervisors and colleagues gleam with pride, but also her steadfast commitment to her duties and dedication to the people of her community. Deputy Bader's work ethic leads her to always finish a day's work, even if it requires her staying after her shift. She has been known to come in on her days off, just to get everything done. She follows up on cases without being asked and does so even with the cases she handles when off-duty.

Moreover, her department knows that if they need someone to fill a shift or make a transport, they can always count on Deputy Bader to answer the request for help. Her supervisors report that she is never reluctant to change her plans if other officers cannot work. In fact, although she works for the Kewaunee County Sheriff's Department, when the Kewaunee Police Department was short of officers, she would volunteer her time there as well. Her commitment was so strong that in May 2002, she became a part-time officer with the Police Department. According to the department's Chief, her enforcement statistics match those of a full-time officer.

For her extraordinary efforts Deputy Bader was selected as the 2003 Kewaunee County Sheriff's "Officer of the Year." She also received the Wisconsin Association of Women Police's "Woman Officer of the Year Award" in 2004. Yet this Officer remains humble about her accomplishments. One deputy in her department proudly states that she treats everyone equally and makes people in her community feel secure knowing that she will handle their complaint in a fair and just manner.

She can even be counted on to just lend an ear or provide objective advice. Her ability to quickly earn people's trust has helped significantly when she has assisted the Investigative Division in sexual assault cases. The ease with which she approaches victims allows her to obtain crucial details and evidence to solve investigations. Deputy Bader's contributions are truly invaluable. The team spirit she displays daily inspires her co-workers who are grateful to have such a dedicated colleague to work alongside and look up to.