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Sergeant seeks clues to department's lost history

--- Town of Delavan officer combines career with passion for history

Donna Lenz Wright/The Week

(Published Sept. 24, 2007, 1:52 p.m.)

Inside of the town of Delavan Police Department is a weapons board and a drug board showing some of the more interesting busts officers have had over the years.

In the near future there will be a history board of the department, if Sgt. Erik Voss gets the information he's looking for.

Voss, a lifelong history buff and department historian, nearly became a history teacher before choosing law enforcement as his vocation.

Now he's searching for information, artifacts or photos anyone might have about the department, its officers and equipment over its 94-year history-especially the years prior to 1972.

"Early record keeping was spotty at best and the department was located in the police chief's houses until 1972," Voss said. "Not all of the records were passed on when a new chief took over."

Voss has been able to gather some information, names and photos, but would like much more, he said.

"If anyone has a friend or relative who served the town of Delavan, I want their names and dates. I can scan photos and return the originals."

Other items like uniforms, badges, belt buckles, etc., are also wanted.

"If someone has an old uniform in a box in the attic, we'd love to display it and take care of it until they want it back-if they want it back," Voss said.

To date Voss has learned the interesting history of the department that has existed since July 5, 1913. From the Delavan Lake Improvement Society he learned that from 1913 to 1943 officers patrolled spring through fall on motorcycles, then the sheriff's department took over during the winter months.

He also learned about a still-unsolved murder from 1928. The body of an unknown woman was found under a culvert between Highway 67 and Town Hall Road. A man was arrested, but later released due to lack of evidence.

"This project is a merging of the two things I love to do the most," Voss said, adding that he'd be particularly happy if he could create a display with plates engraved with the names of every officer who has ever served the town like that one displayed at the state patrol headquarters.

Anyone with any information can call Voss at 728-8787.

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