Fond du Lac officer dies, complications from COVID-19

The Fond du Lac Police Department is mourning the loss of one of their own. Officer Joseph Kurer, 26, died due to complications from COVID-19. Nearly two months after the initial diagnosis, Officer Kurer passed away Wednesday, Sept. 22 at Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin.

Officer Kurer is survived by his wife and two children, one born the night before Joseph passed away. Joseph is also survived by his parents and sister.

Officer Kurer tested positive on Aug. 4. Fond du lac police are considering this a line of duty death because it’s believed he contracted COVID while working.

"I can’t imagine," said David Hopper, owner of Hopper's Custom Silk-Screening. "We are praying heavily for his family and all the officers around the world."

Hopper on Thursday printed signs that will soon appear all over Fond du Lac.

"It’s like, a shock to everyone," said Hopper.

"Our entire Fond du Lac Police Department family mourns the passing of Officer Joseph Kurer. Our love and condolences go out to Joseph’s wife and children and all those with whom he served. We, as a police department family, will do everything possible to continue to provide support and comfort to Joseph’s family. Joseph will be missed by everyone here," said Chief Aaron Goldstein.

According to the Milwaukee County medical examiner, Officer Kurer was transferred to Froedtert a week after his diagnosis, but was never able to be weaned off a ventilator and was pronounced dead Wednesday.  Police squads escorted his body from Froedtert back to Fond du Lac, and police said officers would stand by his body at the funeral home until he’s laid to rest.

"Fond du Lac is a very caring and giving community – very tightknit.  A lot of love and support," said Hopper.

At the police station Thursday, FOX6 found Kurer's squad parked at the corner with flowers on the hood, a black wreath inside and the memory of other losses this area has endured in recent years.

"We’ve had Trevor Casper, Craig Birkholz," said Hopper. "It all hits close to home.  We are a tight-knit community."

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Officer Kurer was sworn in as a Fond du Lac officer on Aug. 6, 2018. He was a member of the Tactical Field Force Team, Honor Guard Unit, Domestic Violence Intervention Team and earlier this year, was certified as a field training officer. 

 The medical examiner noted no other medical history other than obesity and an "unknown" COVID vaccination status.

"Very, very emotional," said Hopper.

Statement from Governor Tony Evers

"Kathy and I were incredibly saddened to hear of the passing of Joseph Kurer, Fond du Lac police officer and member of the Wisconsin National Guard, who tragically passed away in the line of duty due to COVID-19 complications. Our hearts go out to his wife, kids, parents, and sister, and all of his loved ones, especially as they had just welcomed a new baby to the family the night before Officer Kurer’s passing. We are also thinking of the Fond du Lac Police Department and the Fond du Lac community, and we ask the people of Wisconsin to join us in extending offers of support and prayers as they mourn Officer Kurer’s passing."

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