New officer 

By Mary Ann Inman


CLINTON – The newest member of Clinton’s law enforcement team Officer Rick Sears wants the community to know, “I absolutely love Clinton and the people there! They are warm, friendly folks who really like their community and each other.”

Officer Sears added, “Everywhere I go, there are welcoming faces. It truly feels to me like people want to get to know me because they spend time sharing and talking to me. I especially enjoy going through the school zones. I love how parents, teachers and kids all wave to me!”

He describes himself as a happily married man (17 years) and father of six. His wife Kristi is completing her dissertation while tending to him and their youngest daughter Sarah.

Sarah (age 14) is just entering high school. Katie (age 21) graduates this May from Concordia with a BA in Social Work. She was accepted to UW Madison in the fall in the Master’s of Social Work program. She is engaged to John.

Brad (age 26) is working in sales in Milwaukee. He is engaged to Evita. Brian (age 28) is an engineer in Minneapolis working on retrofitting refineries.

David (age 29) is a pastor in Fitchburg MA.

“He is married to Liz, and they have given us our first granddaughter with a second grandchild on the way,” said Sears. Glen (age 29) is a Social Media Director in Seattle and also owns his own company. He is engaged to Alexis.

Officer Rick Sears grew up, for the most part, in a small historic town north of Philadelphia. His father worked as an executive for a large retail firm, and the family moved four times while he was growing up.

Officer Sears reflected, “Growing up in the East, near where Washington crossed the Delaware, hiking through Gettysburg, and walking the streets of Philadelphia around our beloved Independence Hall, has given me a deep respect for our Constitution and how great our Country, this great experiment, really is.

“This is perhaps part of the reason I became an officer; to stand between order and chaos…law and anarchy…to make a place for each of us pursue the American Dream. I am proud to serve my God, my Country and the people of Clinton.”

Sears went on to explain, “I changed careers soon after obtaining my BA in CJA and left retail management after over 25 successful years, managing many different stores, including ones with sales over 125 million and employing 800+ individuals. “I felt that it was time to do something that mattered more than what I was doing.

“I applied and was hired by Beloit as a patrol officer in 2007. For several years, I worked the busy second shift patrol and earned several awards, including the Lifesaving Award in 2013.

“An additional honor was that the man I saved came and presented me with the medal. I am still friends with this family to this day. I felt the calling to become a chaplain after I accepted an assignment as Court and Warrant Officer, which I still hold today.

“It was then I began my Lay Ministry program. After completing two of the three phases of this rigorous program, I was able to become the first chaplain for the Clinton PD after consultations with our Chief.  I am now building a solid chaplain corps from the fine pastoral leaders in our wonderful community.”

Sears clarified his continued route to educate and establish his values getting him to where he is today, “I guess my values are based on old fashioned, Scriptural values instilled through my upbringing and enforced by my studies.

“I began my education in the early ‘80s and took time off because ‘life happened.’ Later, when my wife and I decided to go back and obtain our degrees, I chose Criminal Justice Administration and obtained a BA, graduating Cum Laude.

“I then returned two years later and obtained my Master’s of Public Administration. I am now going back for a second Bachelor’s in Theological Studies with a Lay Ministry Certificate. All of my current education is from Concordia University-Wisconsin.”

I asked Officer Sears a contemplative question, “Who has defined and inspired you?”

“Many people are defined by friends, family, job or even sports teams. I try to define myself by Christ and what He has in store for me. I serve Him through my vocation, my calling, as a police officer and a chaplain” he replied.

“My inspiration comes from many; my grandfather, my father and my father-in-law. I learned many years ago that everyone can teach us something. I strive to learn something from everyone.

“Sometimes it is what I would like to do or be and other times it is what I never want to do or be. It’s all about learning. That is part of the reason I also am an adjunct professor at Concordia-Beloit.”

Then Officer Sears answered my question about what specific skills and ideas he thinks he can use to enhance the Clinton Police Department.

He replied, “Bringing Crimestoppers into Clinton will expand this cooperation and further keep Clinton free of criminal activity. Crime has no borders and the individuals perpetuating this type of activity will go anywhere that they can remain anonymous.

“Only with a partnership within the community can police prevent crime. That is why the Crimestopper program is so effective. It provides the community with a tool that they can use to report crime, suspicious activity and wanted persons in complete anonymity.”

He added, “Through the use of an app, the web or a phone call, individuals can report this and many other things to police. And, if an arrest is made based on the tip, they can receive a reward of up to $1000.

“I am the coordinator to the Greater Beloit Area Crimestopper’s Board and am also a State Crimestopper Board Member. This will allow increase communication between agencies throughout the State. It is through relationships between the police and others that we can significantly make it harder for criminals to act under the cover of anonymity.”

Sears concluded, “I do enjoy gardening, hiking, ATV and really most all outdoor activities. Ideally, our retirement home hopes are to be some place on the ocean, North Carolina Barrier Islands perhaps, where we can sit on the sand watching kids and grandkids frolic in the surf. Nah, we’ll be bodysurfing right alongside them!”