Lt. John Moss at his Jan. 31 retirement ceremony. (Metro Wire photo)

Moss leaves ‘indelible mark’ on Stevens Point Police Department

By Brandi Makuski

August 17, 1998. Saving Private Ryan was tops at the box office. President Bill Clinton was embroiled in the Monica Lewinsky controversy. And a gallon of gas cost $1.06.

It was also the first day on the job at the Stevens Point Police Department for then-patrolman John Moss. Throughout the years, he rose through the chain of command and served in many roles at the department, including shift supervisor, field training supervisor, firearms instructor, and SWAT team commander. He’s also served on the SPPD Honor Guard and its peer support/Critical Intervention Stress Management Team.

On Jan. 31, 2024, the 54-year-old veteran of the United States Army retired from SPPD with the rank of lieutenant.

Assistant Police Chief Mike Rottier opened the ceremony on a light note, referencing things culturally significant from 1998 — such as the nation’s interest rates, cost of a new automobile, and top songs — before a room packed with some 70 people from local law enforcement and fire agencies, SPPD retirees, city and county government, as well as Moss’ friends and family.

“It’s just great to see everyone come together for John’s special day,” Rottier said. “John’s been a huge part of this department for over 25 years. He’s had a huge impact and he’ll be greatly missed. He was not only a great officer, but for me, he’s a great friend.”

Police Chief Bob Kussow, who started his SPPD career on the same day as Moss, had to pause several times during his speech after being overcome with emotion.

Kussow recounted the time that an off-duty Moss stopped to assist Plover police in directing traffic following a vehicle collision on Post Rd. He also talked about some of the lifesaving calls Moss responded to over the years, including a 2011 suicide attempt at the Noel Fine Arts Center, and a more recent suicide attempt on the Clark St. bridge, where Moss saved the life of a 15-year-old boy who tried to jump.

“We all have learned more than we really wanted to through our interactions and conversations with him over the last 25-plus years, but his approach always had a way to cut tension, reduce the stress related to the job — which is terrible at times — and get a smile on a face when bad things were taking place,” Kussow said.

The chief also thanked Moss’ wife and children for the sacrifices they’d made throughout the years in supporting Moss’s career.

“Replacing John is going to be a very hard task,” Kussow said. “He’s left an indelible mark on our department and our community.”

The usually reserved Moss was emotional throughout the ceremony and expressed only a few words of gratitude before the crowd, who gave him a standing ovation.

“Thank you everyone for coming…that’s all I got,” he said.