Police Honor 2 Officers Who Died In Past Year With Capitol Memorial Service

One Officer Died In Shootout In March During First Day On Patrol

Gilman Halsted/WPR

A plaque marking a law enforcement officer memorial in downtown Madison. Gil Halsted/WPR

Police officers from around the state gathered at the state Capitol Friday to honor two officers who died in the past year.

One officer was killed while on duty, while another one died as a result of a gunshot wound sustained while on duty 24 years ago.

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Polk County Deputy Craig Severson was shot in the throat during a shootout in 1991, resulting in a severed spine. He was left paralyzed and confined to a wheelchair. At Friday’s ceremony, former Polk county sheriff Craig Benware said Severson spent the next 20 years as a motivational speaker at school, church and community events.

“His ability to do what he altruistically wished to do from the beginning, that is to change people’s lives and help people in an everyday situation, was never diminished by his injuries,” said Benware. “He was able to continue to do that.”

Also honored at the ceremony was 21-year-old state trooper Trevor Casper, who was killed on March 24 of this year. On his first day on solo patrol, Casper was shot during a gunfight with a man who had just robbed a bank and killed a truck driver. The suspect, 38-year-old Stephen Timothy Snyder, was also killed during the exchange of gunfire.

At the ceremony, Gov. Scott Walker praised Casper’s dedication to his job. “Lord knows how many lives he saved on that day by his brave actions,” he said.

The state Department of Justice and the FBI have not completed their investigation of the incidents leading up to Casper’s death.

Severson’s name is the 266th to be added to a law enforcement memorial on the Capitol Square in Madison. Casper’s name will be added next year.