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Local artist adds to Rhinelander Police Portrait ProjectSubmitted: 04/18/2018
Erin Beu
Erin Beu
Reporter/Anchor
ebeu@wjfw.com

Local artist adds to Rhinelander Police Portrait Project
RHINELANDER - In a few days, nearly every face of every Rhinelander police chief will greet you when you walk into the department.

In the nineties, a local artist sketched the faces of many Rhinelander Police Chiefs.

Recently, another artist stepped up to finish the job.

"I know every little inch of [their] face[s] now," said Rhinelander artist Tom Barnett.

For the past few weeks, Barnett has stared at and studied the faces of Rhinelander Police Chief Lloyd Gauthier, and two of his predecessors Michael Steffes and Glenn Parmeter.

"It's quite creepy if you go up to someone and tell them that," said Barnett with a laugh.


Barnett was asked to do pencil sketches of the last three police chiefs to finish a project that started almost three decades ago.

"Police do so much for our community; it would be a complete honor to do that for them," said Barnett.

Lee Mayer started the project but stopped after 1996.

"I think it's really cool to have the history," said Administrative Assistant Ashlea Olson.

Olson says the first portraits go back to the late 1800's.

"We've actually had people come into the department and say, 'My grandpa was a police chief and I heard you have a picture,'" said Olson.

Even with Barnett's addition, the collection still isn't complete. There is a two year gap between 1892 and 1894.

Now that Barnett has picked up where Mayer left off, he plans to find out what happened during the gap and to find some photos that are missing from the collection.

"Rhinelander is my home, anything I can do for the community I'm happy to do it," said Barnett.

Former Police Chief Glenn Parmeter got to see his portrait for the first time Wednesday.

"I think this is very nice," said Parmeter.

"I walked up to him, and said 'You look familiar,'" said Barnett.

Barnett volunteered his time to do the portraits.

He says the chiefs' reactions make all his work worth it.

"I'm doing it as a favor to the department for everything they do to our community," said Barnett.

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