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Wisconsin Police Officer Dies of On-Duty Heart Attack

Town of Brookfield Police Officer Donald E. Bishop, 32, touched many lives during his career in emergency services.

He was a volunteer firefighter, a dispatcher and an expert in radio communications.

But most of all, he always wanted to be a full-time police officer, a goal he reached in 2011 when he was hired by the Town of Brookfield.

"Don was the type of guy who would give up everything to go help somebody," said Brian Taylor, chief of the North Prairie Fire Department and Bishop's longtime friend.

Bishop died while on duty, Town of Brookfield officials said Saturday.

He suffered an apparent heart attack while responding to a burglary report Friday night, said Christopher S. Perket, the police chief.

Bishop, who was alone in his vehicle, drove his police squad car off the road in the area of Sierra and Jaclyn drives, officials said. Another officer also responded to the burglary call and nothing suspicious was found.

"We are waiting for the autopsy to tell us the official cause of death," Perket said during a brief news conference outside the town police station.

"Lifesaving efforts were performed by officers at the scene," Perket said, but Bishop was later pronounced dead at Waukesha Memorial Hospital.

"I am grateful for the efforts by those on-scene officers and firefighters who worked to save Officer Bishop," Perket said.

"Don Bishop has served the Town of Brookfield as a full-time officer since August 2011," Perket said. "It was an honor to work with Don here at the Town of Brookfield. Residents at area municipalities where he worked were fortunate to have him serve."

"He will be missed by his brother and sister officers here at the Town of Brookfield," Perket said.

His loss was felt throughout the tight-knit emergency response community in Waukesha County.

Bishop also worked as a part-time officer with the Village of Eagle Police Department.

Previously, Bishop worked as a dispatcher with the Waukesha County Communications Center and the City of Oconomowoc Communication Center. He was also a reserve officer with the Village of Mukwonago Police Department.

He was a graduate of Mukwonago High School and Waukesha County Technical College.

Taylor, the fire chief, said Bishop was introduced to ham radio as a child and became expert in radio communications for public safety agencies.

"Don was the type of guy who would give up everything to go help somebody," Taylor said.

Taylor said that Bishop "loved being in the fire department" and always yearned to become a police officer.

When Bishop finally got the full-time job in the Town of Brookfield, Taylor said that the officer was "just grinning from ear to ear."

Christine Bannister, a dispatch supervisor at Waukesha County Communications Center, said Bishop "loved his job" when he worked there.

"He was someone who absolutely was passionate about what he was doing," she said. "Sometimes that's rare to find. He loved emergency services. He worked in many facets of emergency services and his time here with us he did a great job as a call taker and a dispatcher."

"He was a training officer with us and helped to train new dispatchers," she added. "He had a fantastic sense of humor and knew how to really lighten the mood."

His death reverberated through the center, she said.

"We are working with heavy hearts today and taking care of each other," Bannister said. "This is always the last call you want to get over the radio. We're focused on taking care of our staff today."

Sherri Stigler, training and operations manager at the Waukesha County Communications Center, said Bishop's death "is really a huge loss for the county. There were so many things Don was about."

She recalled how he once took a 911 call from a mother whose child was having a seizure.

"Don calmly and professionally talked with her like he was talking to a relative," Stigler said. He guided the woman, who was driving, to pull over and wait for an ambulance to arrive.

"The mom wrote a letter into the dispatch center saying what a great job he did and how much she appreciated him being there for her," Stigler said.

When the emergency call came in Friday night from the Town of Brookfield, dispatchers pieced together that it was Bishop who needed help.

"They were professionals and handled everything like they should have even though I know their hearts were breaking in the process," Stigler said.

Copyright 2013 - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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