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In the Know: Remembering peace officers

A young man was getting his boat ready to head to the lake. It was June 29, 1978, his daughter's fourth birthday. He was taking his daughter, her brother, and two other young boys out to learn how to water ski. As he was finishing putting things in the boat, a squad car drove up to his house. The young man wasn't alarmed by this because the deputy sheriff in the squad car was his good friend, Curt. The young man, Bill, was also a deputy sheriff and the two boys going to the lake with Bill and his children were Curt's younger brothers. Bill assumed Curt was stopping by to visit, but before they had a chance to talk, he saw Curt say something into his radio. They waved a "see you later" wave to each other, and the squad car drove away. Assuming Curt had a call to go to, Bill got the kids together, and they left for the lake. It was a beautiful summer day.

That day changed quickly when another friend arrived at the lake and told Bill that Curt had been shot. Bill went to the emergency room at the Douglas County Hospital as quickly as he could. The emergency room was chaotic. There were cops and local volunteer firefighters there all wanting to give blood to save Curt's life. It wasn't long before Bill and the others were told that Curt had died. Douglas County Deputy Sheriff Curtis A. Felt died while doing a job he loved and serving the community he loved. Curt was 23 years old and had been married for seven short months to his wife, Donna. So many lives were changed that day and so many questions will forever remain unanswered. Curt's friend, Bill Ingebrigtsen, went on to serve as Douglas County Sheriff and is now serving as a Minnesota state senator. Curt's younger brothers grew up to become deputy sheriffs in Otter Tail County and Carver County. What opportunities would have been in Curt's future? Two bullets, fired by a man reporting to serve a short jail sentence, took away whatever that future may have held.

Sadly, thousands of men and women have died or been disabled while serving as peace officers throughout the United States. On October 1, 1962, President John F. Kennedy proclaimed May 15 to be Peace Officers Memorial Day and the full week that it falls within to be National Police Week. May 15 is dedicated to honoring and remembering all peace officers that have died or been disabled in the line of duty. National Police Week is to show support and appreciation for all peace officers currently serving or that have served. I and all peace officers in Douglas County are fortunate to serve in a community that shows support and appreciation for its law enforcement officers throughout the year.

Our community has not forgotten Curt Felt. A Douglas County park is named in Curt's honor and an Alexandria street carries his name as well. On May 15, before this column is printed, the Douglas County Sheriff's Office Honor Guard will have placed a wreath at the Minnesota Law Enforcement Memorial to honor and remember the life and service of Douglas County Deputy Sheriff Curtis A. Felt.