My first blog. When the idea was proposed to me to use my expertise and write a safety blog each month, I thought I would have trouble coming up with topics, but really the opposite has been true. Ever since I hesitantly embraced the idea, I have been jotting down topic ideas and suffice it to say I have enough topics for at least a year!
In this initial blog I am going to share my background and how and why Secure ID™ was started. From there we will branch out to focus on a specific safety area each month. My goal is to make these blogs easily readable, full of useful information and get each of you to think about your safety and the safety of your loved ones as a priority. Bear with me as I find my writing style and improve how to put my experience and ideas into words.
I had the fortunate experience of growing up in the 1970’s in a small rural town in Central Wisconsin where safety never really crossed our mind. As kids, arguments were often settled with fights or more often wrestling matches which ended when someone was pinned. Afterwards we respected the outcome even when we lost. I was fascinated by Ninja’s which were quite popular in movies at the time and as soon as I could, I started taking lessons. Since there wasn’t a “Ninja School” close by I took Kung Fu lessons and later Tai Kwon Do. While in high school I met a few instructors who were police officers and soon decided that’s what I wanted to be.
I knew becoming a police officer wouldn’t be easy so I had to have a plan. I decided to apply to the local volunteer fire department hoping the experience would be beneficial and before I knew it, I was driving an ambulance and responding to fire calls while just 18 years old. Since the fire department shared a building with the local police department, I was able to learn more about police work and get to know the local officers. While still in technical college pursuing my Associate Degree in Police Science I was hired as a part-time police officer working weekends in a small city in Marathon County.
This experience was great for me. I recall not being old enough to enter a bar to drink, yet I was responding to bar fights! I then attended Recruit School, Wisconsin’s version of a Police Academy. At that time Recruit School in Wisconsin was four hundred hours long, it now consists of 720 hours of training.
In less than eighteen months I applied for and was offered a full-time job with a slightly larger department in the area. A few years later while working full-time at the police department I finished my Associate Degree and went on to earn a Bachelor of Science Degree in Public Administration with a Law Enforcement emphasis.
I knew I wanted to be a detective early on. I recall one Sunday day shift in the early 1990’s when we would inevitably get sent to all of the vandalism and theft claims as people woke up and learned their lawn decorations were gone or cars damaged. I was sent to a mailbox vandalism call. When I arrived, I saw a mailbox had been struck by a vehicle and destroyed. Rather than write up a quick report and close it out I collected the pieces of a vehicle side mirror, later superglued them back together and saw it was a Ford mirror housing.
I then contacted the closest Ford service center and they were able to tell me the year, make and model of the striking vehicle. I asked them to contact me if someone comes in with matching damage and less than an hour later, they called me and told me someone had come in with matching damage. It turned out they lived two blocks from the scene. I went to the house and saw the vehicle; it was a perfect match. I learned the driver had been out drinking the night before and fled the scene after causing the damage. They were cited for leaving the scene of an accident and court ordered to pay for the damages they caused. I was hooked. From that point on solving cases because a personal challenge for me to solve.
Whether it was a damaged mailbox or a death investigation I found my calling. Throughout my career I was able to work as an officer, sergeant, Detective Sergeant, and a civilian position as a Sr. Field Investigator.
Along the way I had an interest in owning my own business. In fact, by my mid-twenties I had already started two prior businesses and co-owned a laundromat. Secure ID™ was started as a partnership with a friend and colleague at the police department after we investigated several missing children and saw upset, emotional parents who could not remember key information about their children. Initially we designed and produced Child ID cards at local events. That soon grew to employee ID cards, name tags, medical cards and other customized products.
Today Secure ID™ employs four people and we manufacture over 50 products in DeForest, Wisconsin, a suburb of Madison. We put an emphasis on using USA made materials and manufacturing our own products for better quality control.