When Ryan Condon was named Appleton Police Department Officer of the Year for 2014, he was “a little bit shocked.”
“It is definitely the greatest honor I’ve received in my life,” says the 2008 Lakeland College graduate.
This has been a busy year for Condon, who last week was named school resource officer after previously joining the SWAT Team as a negotiator. He was honored as Officer of the Year in May.
A press release from the APD said, “Officer Ryan Condon consistently goes above and beyond his regular patrol duties and responsibilities. Other officers go to him for assistance on complex investigations due to his excellent investigative skills. Supervisors regularly have asked him to take over sensitive investigations, which he enthusiastically does.”
During the awards banquet, Condon recounted how, as a young boy in Madison, he told his dad he’d like to be a police officer someday – if his first choice, pro athlete, didn’t work out. Condon never became a pro athlete, but his love for sports and law enforcement merged nicely when he chose Lakeland College to play soccer and major in criminal justice with a minor in sociology.
“I really liked the small campus, and though I love Madison, I wanted to experience something different,” Condon says. “My Lakeland experience was the greatest of my life. Most of my best friends today are my soccer teammates at Lakeland.
“I’ve always loved big cities and always considered myself a big-city guy, so it was an adjustment for me. But it was really nice being in a quieter setting and getting to know such a large portion of the student body on such a personal level.”
Condon excelled in the classroom, and a rewarding internship with the Wisconsin Division of Criminal Investigation, during which he helped with drug and homicide cases, gave him an edge over most other aspiring police officers even before he graduated from Lakeland.
“My four-year degree and that internship were what separated me from the pack,” he says. “I was actually walking between finals that last semester when (the APD) called and offered me the job.”
Condon’s career goal is to become a full-time detective. His skillful detective work has already been a tremendous asset to the APD, and stood out when it came time for the department to choose its top officer. He helped solve a sensitive sexual assault case that involved a child, obtaining a confession from the suspect, who had met the child online. After another successful arrest, the chief of police received a letter from the Wisconsin Department of Justice/Division of Criminal Investigation. In it, Condon was praised for his assistance during an undercover investigation involving a 25-year-old Appleton man who was engaged in sexually explicit chat communications with a 14-year-old girl.
“There’s extra motivation to catch predators who victimize children,” Condon says. “Children have a hard time protecting themselves, and are particularly innocent. There is a sense of pride to sit across a table and get a confession from these predators and stop them from harming more children.”
Condon realizes that law enforcement personnel have been under intense scrutiny over the past year, but his dedication to protecting and serving his community is unshakable.
“Yes, we’re always in the public eye,” he says. “But we handle that with a lot of pride. For me, it’s an honor and a privilege to wear that badge every day.”