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Central District Blotter

Courageous Service Award to be Presented to Sgt Karen Krahn Tonight

May 15, 2013 12:35 PM

The MPD's annual Award Ceremony will be held at Monona Terrace this evening at 6:00 pm. This year, nearly 40 citizens, police officers, and civilian MPD staff members will be recognized.

For the first time, Chief Noble Wray will present a Courageous Service Award. It will be an annual award, and the inaugural recipient is longtime MPD Sergeant Karen Krahn. Sgt. Krahn just retired and is currently residing in a hospice facility.

Among the many other awards: a son will be honored for helping save the life of his father; a firefighter will be honored for intervening in a downtown sexual assault; officers will be honored for problem solving initiates, and Central District Capt. Carl Gloede will be honored for his work with the Occupy Madison movement.

Here is the narrative to be read by Chief Wray during the Courageous Service Award presentation:


On April 24th, 1995, Karen Krahn of Cudahy, Wisconsin joined the Madison Police Department after earning her bachelor's degree in Biology at UW-Whitewater. Karen established herself as a competent, compassionate, and proactive officer, and she quickly earned the respect and admiration of her coworkers. In 2002, Karen was promoted to the rank of Sergeant, where she continued to lead fellow officers in serving the people of Madison in a caring and professional manner. Karen was also a long term member of the Special Events Team where she took on leadership roles during significant and pivotal events throughout Madison. Throughout her 18 years of service, Karen has received numerous commendations both from other officers and citizens of Madison, demonstrating the quality and competency of an outstanding police officer and patrol supervisor.

In December 2011, Karen was diagnosed with cancer. Doctors diagnosed Karen with Sarcoma, a rare and aggressive cancer that attacked her lungs and bones. Karen went through several rounds of chemotherapy and radiation treatments, most of which often left her extremely fatigued. Despite her personal challenges, Karen continued to fight her cancer with all of her might and returned to full duty work as a patrol sergeant in July 2012. Karen's strength and determination was an inspiration for the entire Madison Police organization and her Caring Bridge site has received more than 10,000 visits. Karen continued to perform her duties above and beyond the call, and continued to excel as a supervisor. Karen's fight against cancer is a testament to her courageous attitude toward life, toward the Madison Police Department, and toward her family, including her domestic partner, Shelly Gilbertson.

On May 9, 2013, Karen notified the Madison Police Department that she could no longer perform her duties and needed to retire from MPD due to her cancer. Karen's dedication to the department will be missed. Karen's career is more than deserving of this award and it is my pleasure to present her with the first Courageous Service Award.


This was presented personally to Karen in her hospice room yesterday, and Chief Wray will read it at the ceremony tonight.

Sgt Karen Krahn

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