Elm Grove, WI – Elm Grove Police Department (EGPD) Sergeant Joseph “Joe” Ipavec took his own life at the police station early Monday morning, according to his department.
“We are heartbroken at the loss of our dedicated co-worker and friend,” the EGPD said in a Facebook post on Tuesday afternoon.
Sgt. Ipavec, a 19-year veteran-of-the-force, was a leader both within the department and in his community.
The 43-year-old sergeant served as a firearms instructor, mentored new officers as a field training officer, and was also the department liaison for the Citizen Police Academy.
Sgt. Ipavec graduated from the Northwestern University’s Police Staff and Command in 2014, and was also a licensed emergency medical technician, according to his department.
“He was an officer of exceptional performance and was, most notably, commended for his actions that, without question, saved many lives, during the Villager Apartments fire, in October of 2000,” the EGPD noted.
“All members of the Elm Grove Police Department and dispatch staff thank the members of the Elm Grove community for their patience and understanding while we adjust to this tragic loss,” the department’s post read.
“We are additionally thankful for the outpouring of support from our fellow law enforcement communities that responded at a moment’s notice to assist our officers, during this critical incident, and to help us over the long term, pursue a path of wellbeing,” the EGPD said. “His family and two young children are in our thoughts and prayers.”
Attorney General Josh Kaul said that Sgt. Ipavec’s death was a “profound loss” for the community, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.
“The Department of Justice and the Wisconsin law enforcement community mourn with the police department and family and friends of this officer," Kaul said.
“We send our most sincere condolences to his family at this difficult time," Elm Grove Police Chief James Gage told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on Monday. "Our department and our community are grieving."
Sgt. Ipavec will be laid to rest on Saturday, according to his obituary.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Elm Grove Police Department Sergeant Joseph “Joe” Ipavec, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.
Rest easy, hero. We’ll hold the line from here.