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Behind the Badge: Brothers in Blue

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Behind the Badge: Brothers in Blue

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Brothers Tom and Michael Wichgers grew up watching their father serve in the military and then in the police force. This enforced a strong understanding of the importance of service and an unwavering loyalty to their family, community and country.

Now the brothers use those values to guide them as Marquette University Police Department officers.

“I love what I do … It’s about service — to family and to country,” Michael said. “With everything going on, I feel like I’m out here making a difference, doing the right thing and forming relationships.”

The brothers said they knew from a young age they were called to do a job that allowed them to serve their communities just like their father had. An integral part of that service, for both brothers, was serving in the military.

“He was actually my recruitment officer,” Tom said of older brother Michael. “I served in the Army, and (Michael) served in both the Marines and the Army.”

Michael did sixteen years of service, and said he reflects often on his military experiences.

“I want to provide the Marquette community with my ability to serve, and hopefully be a model of service for the Marquette students,” Michael said.

Michael joined the police force after being in the military. Before, he was a teacher for a while.

“I worked at a school for at risk kids. As a teacher on the ground level, it was difficult. There were a lot of kids struggling, and I didn’t have the authority to give true, honest help to them,” Tom said. “Whereas (at MUPD), I have more resources and the authority to help people.”

Both brothers said they enjoy the way MUPD allows them to make connections, both with students and the surrounding community.

“A lot of police departments only have contact with the people they serve when it’s a bad situation … Whereas here, everyone’s walking around so you get to have more positive contact,” Tom said.

“We try to recognize the humanity in the people we’re dealing with because sometimes we’re dealing with them at their worst,” Michael said.

Nowadays, home life takes up the little free time both brothers have.

“Hobbies, boy, I miss those,” Tom said. “When I get a chance I still like to play soccer with my friends in the thirty and over league.”

Michael said he has three kids that keep him active, and he loves being involved in their lives. “I also like to volunteer with veterans when I can,” he said.

Both brothers agreed they can’t see themselves doing anything else for a career.

“Whether people thank us or not, we’re still going to do the job,” Tom said.

People will always need help, and Tom added he wants to be the one to give it. “We’re in jobs like this because it’s what we’re drawn to. Very few jobs have this much satisfaction,” Tom said.

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