In the Line of Duty: Part Two

By KBJR News 1

April 26, 2012 Updated Apr 27, 2012 at 9:56 AM CST

Duluth, MN (Northland's NewsCenter) - It's been said that police work is in the blood and it's not unusual for daughters and sons to follow in their parents' footsteps.

But when a kindergartener loses his dad in the line of duty is the pull to follow as strong?

For Chad Wilson, despite the tragic loss of his father, Sgt. Gary Wilson, in a shoot-out in Duluth, it was a pull he couldn't resist.

Over the past 22 years, since the night Sgt. Gary Wilson was shot to death in a stand-off at the Seaway Hotel in Duluth, his son Chad has attended many memorials.

"It is an important reminder of the danger and the risks associated with the job."

The ceremonies and monuments, like this at Duluth City Hall, are a constant reminder of the dangers of police work.

"Gary's death was the most traumatic thing for everybody on this department, but obviously, his family and friends," said Sgt. John Hartley who was wounded in the line of duty.

Chad Wilson was six years old when his father died. He says he hasn't forgotten anything from the terrible night he learned his dad was never coming home.

"I saw a whole caravan of cars coming up my driveway," Wilson recounted. "The priest informed me that my father had been in a terrible accident and had passed away. "I think about how my life would probably be so much different if that had not happened."

Chad says for many years he fought his urge to become a cop.

It's been a struggle. I've been going back and forth if this is something I really want to do? I know, first hand, what the worst possible outcome of that profession is."

Chad talked with Scott Lyons, the former Duluth Police Chief, and current director of the Police Officer training academy at Fond du Lac Community College.

I think it took Chad awhile to realize, what am I going to do in my life, that maybe this is where I should be," said Lyons.

Chad also spoke with current Police Chief Gordon Ramsay.

Most cops love their jobs and I think that their children pick that up," said Chief Ramsay.

And the pull of the blue line was particularly strong for Chad Wilson.

"His grandfather was a police officer, Harold "Bozo" Wilson," recounted former Duluth police chief Eli Miletich.

"There was only one Bozo Wilson. If you lived in or around Rice Lake Township you knew Bozo Wilson," said Lyons. "He's the community policing guy of the 60s. He knew everybody in Rice lake Township and the Townships around."

After he graduated from UMD Chad made the decision and has now graduated from the Fond du Lac Police Academy.

This is something I want and I'm willing to do what it takes to follow in his footsteps," Chad Wilson said. "I've thought he would be proud of me. "

"Unfortunately Gary doesn't get to see Chad do that and I hope that in the next year Chad can find a job in this profession. I think he's going to be very good at it," said Lyons.

Chad said, "I just think I was born to do it."

Barbara Reyelts
breyelts@northlandsnewscenter.com

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