Investigation results of Sheriff Cramer’s death announced Wednesday

Eau Claire County Sheriff Ron Cramer passed away unexpectedly on Sept. 13, 2022.
Published: Nov. 30, 2022 at 8:41 AM CST|Updated: Nov. 30, 2022 at 9:59 AM CST
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - Following former Sheriff Ron Cramer’s death, Acting Sheriff Cory Schalinske and other law enforcement officers are calling for change in the work culture when it comes to making mental health a priotiry.

During a joint news conference today, Sheriff Cory Schalinske said every staffer’s mental well being is important to keep tabs on.

The investigation report shows that Cramer had been experiencing work and health related stress before taking his own life back in September.

Schalinske says while it is hard to understand why this happened, action is needed to help others.

“Suicide is hard to talk about, in this situation we have a prominent public figure,” said Eau Claire Police Chief Matthew Rokus.

Cheryl Cramer, Sheriff Cramer’s widow, also spoke at the press conference.

“Our family suffered a great loss with Ron’s untimely passing,” said Mrs. Cramer.

Sheriff Schalinske tried to think of what Cramer could have been going through.

“We can only imagine how many tragic and horrific scenes Cramer responded to in 47 years of service,” said Sheriff Schalinske.

Up in Chippewa Falls, Holly Hakes owns a mental wellness private practice, Hakes Wellness Solutions. She has worked with the Eau Claire County Sheriff’s office for many years now, but says more could always be done.

“Providing mental health support in law enforcement is something we didn’t know how to do such a good job with,” said Hakes. “I think part of the reason it has to do with it is the mental health stigma... and in law enforcement its particularly burdensome.”

Sheriff Schalinske announced a plan at Wednesday’s press conference.

“We have implemented yearly wellness visits for each staff member where they meet with a mental health professional,” said Sheriff Schalinske.

Hakes said she hopes this will go well with the staffers.

“Sounds kind of like a scary thing, like you’re forced to talk to this mental health person, but it’s important to keep the scope of it in mind,” said Hakes, who favors an educational approach to mental wellness. “Knowing what happens in your brain when you’re exposed to a traumatic scene and understanding how it might burden you down the road is super important.”\

Sheriff Schalinske shared his sentiment over the man he closely worked with over the years.

“We do not know the reason for his decision. But we will always know what he meant to this community and what the community meant to him.”

And Mrs. Cramer shared what she hopes everyone remembers about her late husband.

“We hope you finally remember Ron’s loving demeanor, sense of humor and you carry those memories with you.”

Police Chief Rokus says the investigation into Cramer’s death is closed.

If you or someone you know is struggling with mental illness, there are resources available, and that includes the 988 number for the Suicide and Crises Lifeline.

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - Eau Claire County law enforcement officials announced the results of an investigation into the unexpected death of Eau Claire County Sheriff Ron Cramer on Sept. 13, 2022.

Eau Claire Police Chief Matt Rokus said at a press conference Wednesday morning that the cause of Cramer’s death was suicide.

Acting Eau Claire County Sheriff Cory Schalinske said that on Sept. 13 at 1:56 p.m., the Eau Claire County Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call from two Eau Claire County employees who found the body of a man in the Town of Seymour in the woods near the Eau Claire River about six miles east of the City of Eau Claire. A gun was also at the scene. The witnesses and responding law enforcement recognized the man as Ron Cramer. The Sheriff’s Office turned the investigation over to the Eau Claire Police Department.

Schalinske thanked the multiple agencies who worked on the investigation and offered condolences to Cramer’s family and the community. Schalinske also highlighted efforts to help the mental health of first responders and law enforcement that deal with traumatic events.

Cheryl Cramer, the wife of Ron Cramer, also issued a statement at the press conference, and said that her family shares the grief felt by the Eau Claire community.

Rokus said that investigators did not know why Cramer decided to take his life. Rokus said that the investigation into Cramer’s death is closed.

If you or someone you know is struggling with mental illness, there are resources available, including dialing the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline. Additional resources are available from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - Eau Claire County law enforcement officials are planning to announce the results of an investigation into the death of Eau Claire County Sheriff Ron Cramer Wednesday morning.

A press conference at the Eau Claire County Jail conference room is scheduled for 10 a.m. Wednesday.

The press conference is not open to the public, but will be streamed online. You can watch the press conference at weau.com or on WEAU 13 News’ Facebook page. Acting Sheriff Cory Schalinske, Eau Claire Police Chief Matt Rokus and Cheryl Cramer will speak at the press conference.

Cramer, 68, led the Eau Claire County Sheriff’s Department for 26 years after being elected as a write-in candidate in 1996. His law enforcement career began in Eau Claire County in 1975. Earlier this year, Cramer announced that he would be retiring from service at the end of this term. The funeral for Cramer, who passed away unexpectedly on Sept. 13, was held at Trinity Lutheran Church in Eau Claire.

Eau Claire County Sheriff Ron Cramer passed away unexpectedly on Sept. 13, 2022.
Eau Claire County Sheriff Ron Cramer passed away unexpectedly on Sept. 13, 2022.(Eau Claire County Sheriff's Office)