by Dennis Dalman
A Sartell police officer died March 27 after complications from surgery at the St. Cloud Hospital.
Jeff Schmitz, 44, leaves behind his wife, Stacy Landborg-Schmitz, and 4-year-old son Andrew. He died with his family at his side.
Schmitz was hired Sept. 24, 2012 by the Sartell Police Department.
“Joe was an outstanding officer for the Sartell Police Department,” said Sartell Police Chief Jim Hughes in a statement to the media. “He was tall in stature with a big heart and a smile just as big. Even though Joe was only with Sartell for under two years, he stepped right in as a seasoned, experienced officer. He will be missed by the people he was sworn to protect and by the members of the department.”
Schmitz, who hailed from Paynesville, had worked for 19 years for the Paynesville Police Department and part-time for the Cold Spring/Richmond Police Department.
A funeral for Schmitz was held March 31 at Paynesville Lutheran Church.
Schmitz, the son of Clarence and Martha (Thielen) Schmitz ,was born in Paynesville Aug. 7, 1969 and grew up in Roscoe. After high school, he joined the U.S. Air Force and served his country until 1991. Then he returned to the Paynesville area. He earned a law-enforcement degree from Alexandria Technical College and began working for the Paynesville Police Department. During that time, he also studied to earn a taxidermy license and opened Schmitty’s Taxidermy.
An account for Schmitz’s family has been established at Central Minnesota Credit Union in St. Joseph. Those who would like to contribute should send a check written out to “Joe Schmitz 7907” and send it to CMCU, PO Box 87, St. Joseph, MN 56374. Checks and cash can also be hand-delivered to that credit union or to any of its other 16 branches, including ones in Albany, Avon, Cold Spring, Freeport, Little Falls and Paynesville.
Dalman was born and raised in South St. Cloud, graduated from St. Cloud Tech High School, then graduated from St. Cloud State University with a degree in English (emphasis on American and British literature) and mass communications (emphasis on print journalism). He studied in London, England for a year (1980-81) where he concentrated on British literature, political science, the history of Great Britain and wrote a book-length study of the British writer V.S. Naipaul. Dalman has been a reporter and weekly columnist for more than 30 years and worked for 16 of those years for the Alexandria Echo Press.