MADISON (WKOW) -- The Dane County Sheriff's Office is mourning the loss of Deputy Rick Treadwell.
Dane County Sheriff Dave Mahoney says Treadwell died Saturday afternoon of the coronavirus.
The sheriff's office says this is the first line of duty death to COVID-19 in Wisconsin.
Sheriff Mahoney choked up at times as he talked about Deputy Treadwell, who after several weeks of fighting the coronavirus passed away at Saint Mary's Hospital.
Because he contracted the disease while on the job, it is considered a line of duty death, the first in 41 years for the Dane County Sheriff's Office.
Deputy Treadwell had worked for the sheriff's office for the past 25 years, much of that in the training division.
"Rick was highly respected by his peers, highly respected by those in the community and he was driven to serve," Sheriff Mahoney said.
Treadwell had a wife, a daughter and two sons.
Sheriff Mahoney says many teachers had reached out to him with messages about Treadwell.
"They talked of Rick's engagement with his kids at school and his commitment to make sure they had all they needed to be excellent as well," Mahoney said, fighting back tears.
He says they have no doubt Treadwell contracted the virus while on the job because of the agency's robust contact tracing.
"It doesn't change anything because we have taken this COVID-19 deadly disease very serious," Mahoney said, when asked if they were planning on changing their safety procedures.
He says they have cleaning teams, strict social distancing guidelines and mask usage.
He hopes people in the community will see Treadwell's passing and follow along with them.
"I can't be more clear: I wear a mask to protect the community I serve and I hope the community I serve wears a mask," Mahoney said.
Sheriff Mahoney says they are still working on funeral arrangements, but because of the coronavirus and safety precautions, nothing has been decided yet.
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