Wausau Event Focuses on Impact of Homicide on Victims' Families

wausau campus

Rasmussen College adjunct instructor and 22-year Green Bay police veteran, Mike Knetzger, addressed a packed house at the Wausau campus on Oct. 29 when he shared the story of his daughter, Ashley, who was killed by a drunk driver in 2008.

Ashley and her friend Talhia Heroux were 18 years old when convicted drunk driver Anrietta Geske—driving in excess of 80 mph—slammed into the side of Heroux’s Buick on that fateful night six years ago.  Both girls in the Buick died. Geske was convicted of five charges—including two counts of first-degree reckless homicide—and was sentenced to 80 years in the Wisconsin State Prison system.  

Knetzger has shared Ashley’s story with more than 2,000 communities around the country, including high schools, community groups and law enforcement organizations. He shares her story in hopes of putting a stop to violent crimes and to motivate other law enforcement officers to continue making a difference in the lives of others.

“He sees that as one of his purposes in life—for change and community impact,” said Shauna Froelich, justice studies program coordinator at the Green Bay campus.

Knetzger’s presentation drew police and probation officers, justice studies and healthcare students, community members from the Marathon County Alcohol and Other Drug Partnership Council (AOD) and youth from the Marathon County restorative justice program. Froelich was really happy to see the youth justice program bring minors with traffic violations to the event.

The first part of Knetzger’s 3-hour presentation was primarily focused on the loss of his daughter, going through the 911 calls, the impact it had on his family, counseling and how he came back to serve as an officer.

Knetzger shared how he wanted to retire on disability due to the building stress and emotional pain. His counselor asked him the simple question: “What would Ashley want you to do?” Knetzger knew his daughter would want him to continue making an impact on the community so he returned to work 30 days after her death.

The second portion of his presentation focused on examining ethics and how to protect and serve a community. This portion of the presentation was more focused on law enforcement, but Knetzger made it a point to acknowledge the importance of everyone in the community coming together to protect one another and value life.

“The officers who investigated the crash that killed Ashley made a difference and allowed for justice,” Knetzger said. “The prosecution fought for us and prevailed. Justice does not bring Ashley back, but if we, the police, don’t fight for victims and speak for their loved ones, then nobody will. I have experienced the difference that police officers can make.”

Rasmussen College decided to feature Knetzger’s presentation at all three Wisconsin campuses due to the poignancy of the message. Froelich’s hope is that attendees will hear about his tragedy, but also his personal growth and journey to serve again as a police officer.

The college hoped it would attract a diverse group, and knew that anyone who sat and listened to his story would be impacted.

“For law enforcement students, we wanted them to think about why they are choosing to serve. The answer is to help others,” Froelich said.

Knetzger is scheduled to give his next presentation at the Topeka campus on March 3 from 5-7 p.m. followed by a presentation at the Overland Park campus on March 4 from 2-5 p.m.

About the author

Jennifer Pfeffer

Jennifer is a Content Marketing Specialist at Collegis Education who researches and writes articles on behalf of Rasmussen University. She is passionate about learning and higher education and enjoys writing engaging content to help current and future students on their path to a rewarding education.

50 Smartphone Apps for College Students

Related Content

Related Content

Rasmussen Publisher Logo

This piece of ad content was created by Rasmussen University to support its educational programs. Rasmussen University may not prepare students for all positions featured within this content. Please visit www.rasmussen.edu/degrees for a list of programs offered. External links provided on rasmussen.edu are for reference only. Rasmussen University does not guarantee, approve, control, or specifically endorse the information or products available on websites linked to, and is not endorsed by website owners, authors and/or organizations referenced. Rasmussen University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, an institutional accreditation agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.

logo-accreditation-acen logo-accreditation-ccne chart-credential-laddering-associates-bachelors-masters 0 Credits 90 Credits 180 Credits 48 Credits Start Here HIGH SCHOOL GRADS Start Here TRANSFER STUDENTS Start Here SECOND DEGREE PURSUERS End Here ASSOCIATE'S DEGREE Start Here MASTER'S DEGREE PURSUERS End Here BACHELOR'S DEGREE End Here MASTER'S DEGREE chart-credential-laddering-associates-bachelors 0 Credits Start Here HIGH SCHOOL GRADS Start Here TRANSFER STUDENTS 90 Credits Start Here SECOND DEGREE PURSUERS End Here ASSOCIATE'S DEGREE 180 Credits End Here BACHELOR'S DEGREE chart-credential-laddering-msn chart-credential-laddering-nursing-programs chart-credential-laddering-nursing DNP MSN RN to BSN LPN to RN Bridge Accelerated BSN Professional Nursing ADN Practical Nursing Diploma Pre-Licensure Post-Licensure icon-colored-outline-bank icon-colored-outline-certificate icon-colored-outline-circle-dollar-sign icon-colored-outline-folder-search icon-colored-outline-hand-heart icon-colored-outline-head-blocks icon-colored-outline-head-cog icon-colored-outline-head-heart icon-colored-outline-health-plus-leaves icon-colored-outline-hospital icon-colored-outline-lifelong-learning icon-colored-outline-light-bulb-analytics icon-colored-outline-location-pin icon-colored-outline-magnifying-glass icon-colored-outline-monitor-healthcare icon-colored-outline-monitor-paper-search icon-colored-outline-nurse-rays icon-colored-outline-padlock-shield icon-colored-outline-person-presenter-screen icon-colored-outline-scales ras-logo-flame ras-logo-horizontal ras-logo-stacked icon-colored-advance icon-colored-arrows-cross-curve icon-colored-briefcase-star icon-colored-build icon-colored-bulb-analytics icon-colored-certificate icon-colored-continual-development icon-colored-duo-chatbox icon-colored-folder-mortarboard icon-colored-forward-ribbon icon-colored-gears-clock icon-colored-globe-pen icon-colored-growth icon-colored-hand-bubble icon-colored-hand-stars icon-colored-hands-gear icon-colored-head-blocks icon-colored-head-cog icon-colored-health-plus-leaves icon-colored-hospital-building icon-colored-laptop-cbe-skyscraper icon-colored-laptop-checkmark icon-colored-laptop-webpage icon-colored-location-map icon-colored-location-pin icon-colored-monitor-paper-scan icon-colored-mortarboard-dollar icon-colored-national icon-colored-people-chat-bubbles icon-colored-person-cheer-star icon-colored-person-laptop-checkboxes icon-colored-person-screen-instructor icon-colored-person-whiteboard icon-colored-phone-chatbox icon-colored-police-light icon-colored-prep icon-colored-presenter icon-colored-regional icon-colored-save-time icon-colored-shirt-hat icon-colored-skyscraper icon-colored-state icon-colored-student-centered icon-colored-support icon-colored-world-experience icon-triangle-arrow-up-plant icon-triangle-calendar-pencil icon-triangle-clock-rotating-arrows icon-triangle-display-gears icon-triangle-hand-right-speech-bubble icon-triangle-laptop-coding-brackets icon-triangle-mortarboard icon-triangle-paper-ribbon icon-triangle-person-cheer-star icon-triangle-person-juggle icon-triangle-triple-people-chat-bubble icon-modality-campus icon-modality-field icon-modality-online icon-modality-residential icon-arrow icon-bank icon-camera icon-filter icon-general-chart icon-general-connect icon-general-degree icon-general-discuss icon-general-email icon-general-find icon-general-hat icon-general-heart icon-general-laptop-building icon-general-laptop icon-general-leader icon-general-map icon-general-money icon-general-paperwork icon-general-people icon-general-phone icon-general-speak-out icon-head-heart icon-info-circle icon-mail-forward icon-mglass icon-play-solid icon-quote-mark-left icon-quote-mark-right icon-scales icon-share-square-o icon-simple-chat icon-simple-desktop icon-simple-find icon-simple-hamburger icon-simple-phone icon-spinner icon-tag icon-testimonial-quotes icon-util-checkbox-white icon-util-checkbox icon-util-checked-white icon-util-checked icon-util-chevron-down icon-util-chevron-left icon-util-chevron-right icon-util-chevron-up icon-util-circle-arrow-down icon-util-circle-dot icon-util-language-switch icon-util-loading icon-util-open-window-link icon-util-pdf-link icon-util-refresh icon-util-x rebrand-arrows icon-social-facebook-colored icon-social-facebook-square-colored icon-social-facebook-square icon-social-facebook icon-social-google-plus-square icon-social-google-plus icon-social-instagram-colored icon-social-instagram icon-social-linkedin-square-colored icon-social-linkedin-square icon-social-linkedin icon-social-pinterest-p-colored icon-social-pinterest-p icon-social-twitter-colored icon-social-twitter-square icon-social-twitter icon-social-youtube-play-colored icon-social-youtube-play graduate-cap-star-coin hand-coin hand-heart nurse-stethoscope-rays card-send-smile person-yoga-pose suitcase-star