Deputy’s retirement well-deserved after 27 years

Hendrickson will officially retire on July 2. He recalled, “When I came to the department, Fred Pelzer was sheriff. Then there was Jerry Susalski and Paul Tschida. When I started, there were five deputies and the sheriff. Now there are 13 full-time deputies, the sheriff and three part-time deputies.”

As the patrol sergeant, Hendrickson was patrol supervisor and also served in the capacity of trainer for the department. During the last year he worked as trainer with Deputy Michel Wetzel, who will assume those duties on July 1.

He said, “My favorite part of my duties is the job itself. No two days are the same. I got to do a lot of different things that many do not, such as serving under three distinctively different sheriffs.”

His least favorite part of his job was family disputes. Hendrickson said, “With these there are no winners and we get stuck in the middle trying to make someone feel better.”

“Time went fast,” he added, “It seemed like the first 10 years went slow, then the next five went fast and it has sped by ever since.”

There are some events that one does not forget, Hendrickson said, “I remember, I think it was 1972, getting stuck in a blizzard out in Bowlus. I was with Sheriff Pelzer and another deputy. We were there for two days before the National Guard came to get us.”

He also recalled, “During the big flood, I spent 60 hours in three days delivering medicine and checking on people’s safety. This was done by helicopter. There were some places we had to land on little islands that were in the fields.”

And, of course, one does not forget working on homicides and train derailments.

Hendrickson was also instrumental in the development of the 911 and the E911 system operating in the county. He served as chairman of the committee that initially set up the first 911 system. He continued on with the development of the E911 system and is working on the third phase which will allow cell phone calls to come to the sheriff’s office and will also allow a trace to the phone.

Addressing the issue of the 911 system, Hendrickson said, “It was and is a great idea. The problem with it is the state mandated it, but gave no guidelines. So, each county has had to develop its own system. I really enjoyed working with the utility companies during this process. It was a lot of work for their field people but they were great to work with.”

What advice would he give anyone considering the field of law enforcement? “They should really think about what situations they are getting into, try some on the job training, ride with a deputy for a while, really find out what the job is about. You have to give up a lot with the family. You work weekends and nights. It is not a glamorous job. Make sure it is what you want before you make the decision.”

Hendrickson and his wife JoAnn plan to keep their store going on Fish Trap Lake and then do some off-season travel after the store closes. His hobbies also include doing “anything outdoors. A benefit of this job was spring and fall when you could be outside,” he said.

Hendrickson concluded, “I want to thank former Chief Deputy Bill Krause for his guidance when I was a rookie. If it was not for him, I probably would not have been in law enforcement today. Also, I’m not totally going away. I will continue to work with the 911 system, and I will be around to fill in for vacation shifts.”

Sheriff Paul Tschida commended Hendrickson. “Ed will be missed for many reasons, but his vast knowledge of the county, the roads and addresses, will really be missed. He has been a mainstay for many years and was able to work well under three different sheriffs. I’ll miss his calm demeanor during chaotic situations,” he said.

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