Senior officer joins rank and file
Michael J. Caylor, Jr.
Most everyone knows who the senior person at work is. At some places that means a little more pay or first pick at vacations. At most work places the senior person has the respect of his or her co-workers, rightfully earned. So when Merrill Chief of Police Ken Neff decided it was time to take a new department photo he invited the senior guy to hang out, a man who earned the respect of the Merrill community and his fellow officers.
Allison “Oopie” English, who recently turned 90, is currently the oldest and most “senior” retired member of the Merrill Police Department. Oopie graduated from Merrill Senior High School before joining the United States Navy where he served during World War II. He was called back again and served a second stint during the Korean War. After returning from service he joined the department on July 1, 1955 taking the place of the retiring Ed Slewitzke. Oopie was born in Merrill in 1926 and was appointed to the police force by then Chief Hugo Hanig. Oopie walked the beat, worked patrol, and was eventually appointed to the Safety Patrol Director position in 1963. He was promoted to Sergeant in 1971 which carried with it the job of shift commander. He was promoted to Captain in 1976 by Chief Charles Johnson to take the place of Ches Kienitz who had retired in January of that year. Oopie served in that role until he retired on New Year’s Eve, 1981.
Oopie and his doting wife Nancy still live in the same house they moved into in Merrill’s 2nd Ward in 1951. There they raised three children, Dennis, Bruce, and Cindy, and later kept a close eye on nine grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren.
For the agency photo this year Chief Ken Neff went retro. They gathered outside the former city hall and the current city hall 2nd Street entrance to replicate pictures taken in the 1950s and 1990s. The 1950s picture featuring Chief Hanig and his crew was taken one year before Oopie joined the force. Once the professional images are complete, I am sure you will find them on the Merrill Police Department Face Book site, https://www.facebook.com/MerrillPolice.