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New Hero Search Michael J. Seversen ("Mike")
- Apr. 14, 2014 -

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Polk County Sheriff's Office Patch
Resided: St. Croix Falls (Polk County)
Born: May. 18, 1963  
Fallen: Apr. 14, 2014
Race/Sex: Caucasian Male / 50 yrs. of age
Dept: Polk County Sheriff's Office - WI
1005 W Main St  900
Balsam Lake, WI   54810   USA
County: Polk
Dept. Type: County/Police
Hero's Rank: Deputy
Sworn Date: 8/1986
FBI Class: Homicide - Gun
Weapon Class: Firearm
Agency URL: Click Here
Bio: Mike Seversen attended St. Croix High School in Polk County.

Despite requiring a mechanically operated 'sip and puff' wheelchair for the rest of his life, Seversen lived independently and remained active in the Sheriff’s Office, Johnson said. He used a voice-activated computer to open doors, and run the lights, TV and stereo in his home.

Seversen also continued pursuing his passion for hunting and fishing, using 'sip and puff' fishing rods and wheelchair-mounted rifles designed by a friend who owns a sporting goods store. He bagged two deer within a year or so of being shot.

'His attitude is what set him apart,' said Johnson, who was just starting his law enforcement career and was a reserve deputy in Burnett County the night of the shootout, allowing others on the force to be dispatched to the confrontation in a residential area.

Seversen traveled and told his story, his mission to show there is life after paralysis.

'I’ll be honest with you,' he said in a 1994 interview with the Star Tribune, 'there are many times I go to bed at night and the lights are off and I’ll be crying and praying to the Lord to take me home because this is so hard.'

In September of that year, Seversen attended the funeral of slain St. Paul officer Ron Ryan Jr. He wondered at the time, 'Would the lines have been this long for me?'

Survived by:
Fatal Incident Summary
Offender: Robert K. Reineccius / Male
Location:   Village of Webster,   Burnett County, WI   USA   Fri. Apr. 19, 1991
Summary: Deputy Sheriff Mike Seversen succumbed to complications of a gunshot wound sustained on April 19th, 1991, as he and Deputy Sheriff Allen Albee, of the Burnett County Sheriff's Office, attempted to arrest a subject wanted for a shooting in Minnesota the previous day.

The subject's car was located near Webster Elementary School, in Burnett County. Deputy Seversen responded to the scene when the Burnett County Sheriff's Office requested additional assistance.

Several deputies, including Deputy Seversen and Deputy Albee, were approaching the subject near the school when the man opened fire with a .32 caliber handgun. Deputy Albee was killed and Deputy Seversen suffered a wound to his spinal cord, causing him to become paralyzed from the neck down.

Other deputies returned fire and killed the subject.

Deputy Seversen remained paralyzed from the neck down until passing away from complications of the wound.


Deputy Seversen and several other deputies and State Troopers responded to a call for assistance from Webster police and Burnett County deputies in the search for shooting suspect Robert K. Reineccius.

Reineccius was believed to have wounded a man in Chisago County, Minn. on April 18th.

Officers spotted Reineccius later that night near Webster. A chase ensued during which the suspect eluded officers, abandoned his vehicle and ran into a wooded area.

The next day, April 19th, Severson and other officers spotted Reineccius on the run in a residential area near an elementary school in Webster. The suspect had a handgun at his side, which he'd taken from the individual he'd shot a day earlier.

When Severson confronted Reineccius, the suspect suddenly raised the gun and shot Severson in the face, then spun around and fired three shots at Burnett County Deputy Allen Albee, killing him.

Five other nearby officers immediately fired on Reineccius, striking him several times and killing him. Investigation later revealed Reineccius had told others he'd not go to prison, instead would engage in a shoot-out with police, causing officers to shoot him, effectively taking his own life.

Seversen was subsequently transported to the Burnett General Hospital in Grantsburg, then transferred to North Memorial Hospital in Coon Rapids, Minn.

Disposition: In the course of his recovery and therapy at Craig Hospital in Englewood, Col., Severson learned to manipulate a sip & puff-activated mechanical wheel chair. He also learned to operate sip & puff controlled fishing rods and hunting rifles designed and built by his friend Todd Angel of St Croix Outdoors, Sheriff Johnson noted.

This allowed Severson to pursue his passion as an avid outdoorsman.

Although he lived independently at his home in St. Croix Falls, his medical needs steadily increased in later years.

Seversen was the recipient of many awards, including the Law Enforcement Purple Heart and the National Sheriff's Deputy of the Year.

In 2004, Dep. Seversen's long-time efforts resulted in a Police Memorial Statue being erected in front of the Polk County Justice Center.

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Related: Allen Arthur Albee
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