RHINELANDER - A number of Rhinelander police and firefighters will work a weekend morning shift in December and won't get paid for it. It's an extra task they're happy to help with.
The Rhinelander Police Department's Shop With a Cop program returns December 16. Police and firefighters take 20 third grade students from Crescent, Pelican, Zion, and Nativity schools shopping for Christmas presents at Walmart. The schools recommend students for the event.
Each child gets $100 to spend on themselves and family, but organizer and patrolman Chad Brown says the real present isn't something you can buy.
"When I'm out in the community and a bus drives by of a bunch of kids waving, "Hi, Officer Brown!' out the window, that's what's great to see," Brown said. "They put a name with the face."
Brown brought the program to Rhinelander in 2008. The morning includes free breakfast at Burger King and an emergency vehicle escort on a donated Bowen's school bus. The program runs entirely on donations, which Brown says the police department can always use more of.
"You never know if these kids are going to get the Christmas that they want based on economic issues in their families, so we really like to be able to help these kids get that one gift that they really want," Brown said.
Brown says a number of businesses and individuals donate each year, which makes his job of finding enough money easier.
If you'd like to donate to the program you can drop off money at the Rhinelander Police Department during normal business hours. Checks should be made payable to the Rhinelander Professional Police Association.
The police department's mailing address is 201 N. Brown Street, Rhinelander, WI 54501.
RHINELANDER - The Rhinelander Police Department identified the man who died after a house fire on Friday night as 35-year-old Jeffery J. Becker.
Rhinelander Fire Chief Terry Williams told Newswatch 12 on Monday afternoon that an autopsy indicates Becker died from smoke inhalation, but the autopsy results and further investigation is now in the hands of the state Department of Criminal Investigations.
Crews responded to the house at 320 Rose Street, near Hodag Park, around 7:30 p.m. Friday. Firefighters went inside the house soon after they arrived and found Becker unresponsive on the floor. Firefighters and paramedics tried to revive Becker, but he was pronounced dead at the scene.
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