GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) — A special ceremony in a small, mostly unknown city park honors a former Green Bay police officer.
Seeing squad cars on Day Street near downtown Green Bay may not seem out of the ordinary for some neighbors, but what brings them there Wednesday is.
And it’s all thanks to a Facebook message from a woman in Colorado.
“She said, ‘Is there any way an officer can go by, stand by the sign and take a selfie? The park meant so much to my mother, who passed away 10 years ago. It meant so much to our family, and that’s all I want,’” Green Bay Police Captain John Laux said.
That was the message Laux received from Nancy Brisk a few weeks ago.
Nancy’s father, Harold, was a police captain from 1946 to 1971, when he died at just 48 years old.
The following year, a sixth grade class from Lincoln Elementary School asked the city to name a park after him.
“The little park at 820 Day Street was dedicated to what people of the time described as a great man, outstanding citizen,” says Laux.
He was a man police say was a community officer decades before it was popular.
In the ’60s, Brisk started the police explorer program, which still exists, and was very involved with youth, starting a safe driving program for teens.
“As they’re talking about things he did, in the back of my mind, I’m thinking, we should bring back that traveling trophy between the schools. Who is the safest driver? We should bring back some of these things that he was doing because really, he was way ahead of his time when it came to youth programs,” says Chief Andrew Smith.
So on the anniversary of the park’s dedication, not only do police grant Nancy’s wish, they take it another step.
“I thought we’d up the ante for her and do something really special,” says Laux.
The department brings out the honor guard, uniformed officers and a community to show, even 44 years later, one person still makes a difference.
“It was the efforts of somebody nearly 50 years ago, and all the neighborhood kids today, a full generation or two later, are enjoying it. It’s really cool,” says Alderman Joe Moore, who lives nearby.
The police department hopes to have a permanent plaque erected at the park, so everyone will know the man for whom the park was named.