Salute the Badge: RCPD officer now serves his community after serving in the U.S. Army
A Riley County police officer served in the United States Army for more than a decade, now he focuses on serving his community.
Officer Michael Wagenblast served in the United States Army for more than 20 years.
"I came in the army as a private, work my way all the way up, did a little career change, I went warrant in 2000," Officer Wagenblast of RCPD said. "I oversaw the maintenance for the entire brigade at the end."
After retiring from the Army, Wagenblast signed up to serve in a new way, joining the Riley County Police Department in 2012. He says he couldn't do it without his wife's blessing.
"She's been real supportive and that's what it takes, you got to have a supportive spouse to do what I've done over the last 30 years. It takes a real supportive spouse and she's always been there," Officer Wagenblast explained.
He now patrols the northern areas of Riley County, around Ogden.
"The close knit ties that you can get with the people," Officer Wagenblast emhasized. "We can spend a little bit more time up there with everyone and give them more like a personalized service. There just really good folks up there."
For his efforts in both careers, the Riley County Law Board recently recognized him as the VFW's Kansas Officer of the Year.
"I couldn't think of a better officer to receive it this year," Daniel Watkins, Commander of VFW Post 1786 said. "Truly idolizes what kind of police officer he is and what a remodel he is. Dedicated to service, dedicated to serving public."
"I was extremely surprised. It's a great honor that's being bestowed upon me. What I've done to stand apart I really don't know, I just do what the people of Riley County ask," Wagenblast said.
Wagenblast says the people are the best part of his job, "We like to help people that is what we do. I've had the opportunity to be able to in the right place at the right time to help folks, but if the community has an issue, we like to take care of that issue for them and when we can do that, that's real satisfying."
Officer Wagenblast is not quite ready for his second retirement, but when it happens, he says he'll spend his time hunting and fishing.