CONOVER - After 34 years working as a Chicago police homicide detective, Joe Danzl got used to carrying a gun.
"I don't want to say it's second nature, but I'm pretty relaxed when I'm shooting," Danzl said.
Ten years into retirement and living in Eagle River, Danzl now has a concealed carry permit for his 9mm Beretta. The permit works all around the state of Wisconsin, but traveling is a different story.
"I just want to exercise my right to be armed when I choose to be," Danzl said.
Danzl and eight other retired officers worked through a course at the Vilas County Sheriff's Office's outdoor range in Conover on Friday. The HR-218 qualification allows retired officers like Danzl and former Daytona Beach, Fla. Sergeant Daniel Overbey to carry a concealed gun in all 50 states at any age, as long as they pass the certification.
The permit broadly allows concealed carrying which follows federal and state laws. There are some circumstances where a permit-holder cannot carry a weapon into certain buildings.
Vilas County's course involves hitting various targets from three, 15, and 25-yard ranges with various techniques and in different scenarios.
"The getting down and getting up is a little bit harder, but it's not that bad," Overbey said of the course.
Overbey left law enforcement 24 years ago before going to law school and starting a firm in Wausau. He looks at the VCSO course as a good refresher on training all officers go through, whether it's shooting with your off-hand or hitting a target from a long ways away.
"There's pressure," Overbey said. "You want to get it all in for the right area in the right amount of time. But there's also pressure to do good because you want to look better than the guy next to you. That's just competitive spirit."
Vilas County Sheriff's Lt. Gregory Fulton oversees the free course. He looks for retired officers to hit specific shot placement in set time limits through six different stages.
"It's nice to have people out there in our population who have that capability... Utilizing the concealed carry, but also has that 25-plus years of experience of how to operate that weapon," Fulton said.
On Friday, all of the entrants passed the test. That's something Overbey was glad to see.
"If you can't do it and do it well you shouldn't do it at all. I don't foresee that anytime soon [for me], though," the 60-year-old Overbey said with a smile.
That means at least another year of protecting others after a career that never really ends, even in retirement.
"Sometimes police action may be necessary and being armed makes it better," Danzl said.
President Bush signed HR-218 into law in 2004 as the "Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act. It's since been amended a few times.
Vilas County started offering the course last year and plans to hold it again next spring for retired officers who are interested.
MADISON - Madison police are investigating the death of a 60-year-old woman who fell into a pond.
Police Chief Mike Koval says the victim's boyfriend called around 8:30 Saturday night to report he was unable to pull her out of the pond. Rescuers arrived within minutes and gave the woman CPR, but could not revive her.
MADISON - Democratic legislators are complaining that their Republican colleagues didn't give advance notice to them or the Madison Police Department about a proposed security study of the state Capitol that would require the department's involvement.
The state's budget committee adopted the measure Tuesday along party lines. The full Legislature and governor haven't approved the study, the Wisconsin State Journal reported.
WAUSAU - You might see softball, live music, and a polka-themed church service driving down Bridge Street in Wausau this weekend. The award-winning St Anne Fest is back in town.
"It's a big three day event," said John Lang, one of the organizers. "We have great music, good food, softball games, dart tournaments going on. We have all kinds of events that bring in the community."
The annual festival is famous for its egg rolls and fresh deep-fried cheese curds. Ten thousand dollars in cash prizes well be raffled off on Sunday.
Michele Norrbom said the event is really a celebration of everything Wausau.
EAGLE RIVER - Families shower dads with gifts, love and maybe even a surprise breakfast on Father's Day.
The Rock Mission Center in Eagle River combined all three off those for families in their community this morning.
"Can't think of a better thing to sell fathers than that love that you would have with your father on father's day at breakfast," event organizer Joe Jovanovic said.
The pancake spread was inspired by Cory Meyer who brought a special meaning to the meal.
"Pancakes are a big thing in my family," Meyer said. "My grandpa passed away back in 2010 and his last dinner was pancakes. That led to a poem 'Pancakes In Heaven' which is in honor of him that turned into a magazine which now goes to nursing home shut-ins, veterans and prisoners."
Meyer's poem motivated the Rock Center to find their own message for Father's this year.
"Mothers are the love and nurture in the home. I think the Fathers are the hope portion because when a child really needs something that a dad can give, it's hope," Jovanovic said.
Jovanovic shared his own personal connection to the meaning of hope.
"This is superman's family crest and on the planet Krypton this stands for hope. That's the rock, love and hope," Jovanovic said.
And to all the fathers out there...
"Thank you for everything, because that's exactly where it all comes from."
The Rock Mission Center hosts dozens of events every month.
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