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Deputy Sheriff Joanne Heitkemper Retires After 35 Years!
Price County Deputy Sheriff Joanne Heitkemper retired on July 1, 2016 after 35 years with the Price County Sheriff's Office and 39 years in law enforcement.
Joanne began her law enforcement career with the Hawkins Police Department in May of 1977 and became Chief of Police of that department in October of 1978. In June of 1981, after the Hawkins Police Department was closed due to budget constraints, Joanne accepted a position as a Deputy Sheriff with the Price County Sheriff's Office, a position she held until her retirement.
At the time she was hired in 1981, Joanne was the first female officer hired by the department.
Throughout her career, Joanne not only worked on the road and in the jail, but she became an exemplary Telecommunicator, exhibiting great pride and professionalism in her job. Joanne often did the extra things that needed to be done to keep the Dispatch Center in order and was never afraid to take on any task assigned. Joanne took every opportunity to increase her knowledge and improve her skill set.
Like all good Telecommunicators, Joanne exhibited exceptional calmness, confidence and composure under pressure while handling calls ranging from logging accidents, to nuisance animals, to lost hunters. As a single Telecommunicator in a small Center, Joanne demonstrated a remarkable ability to handle multiple radio transmissions, phone calls, 9-1-1 calls and window traffic all at once.
During her employment, in addition to her many other duties, Joanne also became the department's Communications Training Officer and helped train many new hires on dispatch procedures and protocols. Joanne's dedication assured that new hires had the necessary skill set to thrive and succeed in a Dispatch Center.
In 2014, Joanne was honored by the department with the Telecommunicator Award for her handling of a logging incident in which an individual had cut his own leg off while alone in the woods. Joanne was also honored with the Distinguished Service Award that year as a result of her high level of integrity, professionalism and dedication to the department and law enforcement profession in general and the care and compassion shown to victims of crime or circumstance. Finally in 2014, Joanne was awarded the Good Conduct Award for more than 30 years of service without reprimand.
The Sheriff's Office will sincerely miss Joanne and wishes her the best in her retirement. Price County was extremely lucky to benefit from Joanne's many years of selfless service.