EAU CLAIRE Wis. (WLAX/WEUX) – The law enforcement community and beyond is remembering the life and legacy of Eau Claire County Sheriff Ron Cramer. This afternoon, people lined the street in front of the county government center on Second Avenue as squad cars escorted the hearse.

Cramer was first elected to serve as Eau Claire County Sheriff in 1996. Earlier this year, he announced plans to retire at the end of this current term.

Following Cramer’s unexpected death, it was announced Undersheriff Cory Schalinske is assuming the responsibilities of sheriff until the upcoming election or appointment by the governor. 

“We’re hurting right now. Sheriff Cramer was our leader.”

Ron Cramer led the Eau Claire County Sheriff’s Department for 26 years, since 1996, when he was elected as a write-in candidate. He began his law enforcement career in the county in 1975, and for the past 47 years it was Cramer’s tireless work ethic and professionalism that gained the respect of his peers.

“Sheriff Cramer has dedicated his entire career to law enforcement, and for the betterment of law enforcement in Wisconsin. Sheriff Cramer is leaving a legacy in law enforcement. He was born and raised here, he was so proud to serve the Eau Claire community and you saw that every day.”

For Eau Claire County Undersheriff Cory Schalinkse, his memories of Cramer go back to middle school.

“When I was elected sheriff of the day back in 6th grade, and I got to come up here and meet Sheriff Cramer and to serve as his undersheriff was a complete honor, he has been a mentor to so many, we’re going to miss him.”

For Eau Claire Police Chief Matt Rokus, Sheriff Cramer was looked upon as a “pillar” in the law enforcement community. His expectations for others were the same that held for himself.

“Sheriff Cramer had exceptionally high standards, high standards for himself and for everyone around him. That they show character, exemplify integrity and Ron had an unmatched enthusiasm for the law enforcement profession, he loved what he did, he loved serving others and he truly cared about our community and everyone he worked with.”

Ron Cramer was especially proud of his work with the West Central Drug Task Force, his leadership unmatched in tackling illegal drug related criminal activity.

“A huge part of Sheriff Cramer’s legacy is his ability to bring people together and bring partner agencies together. A good example is the West Central Drug Task Force where area agencies could work together dealing with some big issues that have a hard impact, negative impact on our community all with the idea of making this a better place for everyone.”

Sheriff Cramer truly loved his work and it showed in his passion for helping the people of Eau Claire County and giving back to those in need.

“Sheriff Cramer was compassionate, yet he understood the standards of law enforcement. And whether it was shop with a cop and making the impact on one life, we all have stories of Sheriff Cramer throughout our lives, he impacted so many lives.”

The bonds of friendship and camaraderie run deep in law enforcement. Chippewa county sheriff Jim Kowalczyk says Cramer was always there in an hour of need or for a word of encouragement.

“One of the greatest personalities, one of the greatest sheriff’s, just a great guy, a great husband. A great patrolman, a great investigator but what I’m going to miss most is his care, he cared for law enforcement. That was the type of person he was and that’s what I’m going to miss about Ron.”

Ron Cramer leaves a legacy with family, at home, at work, and with an Eau Claire community he so dearly loved.

“It was never about him and it was always who can he impact today, and who is he going to make smile.” The Eau Claire County Sheriff’s Office asks the public to respect the Cramer family’s wishes for privacy during this difficult time.