A Tribute to Wayne and Rocky
The 60-year history of the Summit Police Department has been filled with many tragic events. Fatal vehicle accidents, fatal fires, boating tragedies, and even murders. But nothing more tragic than the events of Saturday January 25 and Sunday January 26, 1975. This one incident would send shock waves through not only the Town of Summit, but also all of Waukesha County.
Two weeks prior to this Saturday night a local farmer, Ronald Hoeft, had been brutally gunned down. Mr. Hoeft was killed while chasing his stolen car from his driveway west on Genesee Lake Rd. After an exhausting search, the suspect who killed Mr. Hoeft escaped. For the next two weeks Chief Greenwald doubled up the officers on third shift, as the fear was that the killer would strike again. The police department had also been burglarized three times during the two months before the ambush.
On that very cold winter night Officer Robert Atkins and Officer Wayne Olson were assigned to the third shift, and were to relieve Officer Wagner who was working second shift. After completing shift change, Officer Wagner left for home shortly after midnight. About 12:10am a local resident heard what he thought was a vehicle backfiring in the cold crisp air. Little did he know that what he had heard was several gunshots in front of the Summit Town Hall.
Around 4am Sunday morning, the Waukesha County Sheriff’s Dispatch center tried to give a radio call to squad 645, the call number of Officer Atkins and Officer Olson’s squad, but got no response. Area police units were called to begin looking for the missing Summit squad. Their search turned up a grizzly discovery. Parked behind the town highway shop was the marked black and white Summit police car, full of blood and bullet holes. There were no signs of the officers however. A foot search revealed what would shock the officers and this township for years to come. The bullet-riddled body of Officer Olson was found lying behind some bushes at the front door of the town hall. Officer Atkins body was then found in the woods just south of the town hall.
An extensive day long search by area law enforcement officers led to a house on Dousman Rd. just a mile from the town hall, and the arrest of a 16 year old town resident. Evidence gathered in a search of the boy’s bedroom and the yard of the house linked him to the murders of the two officers, Mr. Hoeft, and at least 12 burglaries, including the three at the police department.
After two years of court proceedings, the 16-year-old, Alan A. Randall was found to be insane and was sentenced to life in a state mental institution.
Officer Robert “Rocky” Atkins and Officer Wayne Olson were buried with full police honors. Officer Atkins, who was just a newlywed, left behind his bride Karen. Officer Olson left behind a wife, Betty, and a daughter, Nancy. Today our officer’s names are permanently engraved on the Wisconsin Police Memorial in Madison and the National Police Memorial in Washington DC.
While they may be gone, those of us who survive will never forget Wayne and Rocky.