Officer Karl William Reishus

Officer Karl William Reishus

Juneau Police Department, Alaska

End of Watch Monday, May 4, 1992

Karl William Reishus

Officer Karl Reishus succumbed to injuries sustained the previous day when he fell from a 40-foot tower during a training exercise.

He was training with members of Juneau Mountain Rescue Volunteer Group as they practiced a rescue scenario that involved lowering a victim in a litter while a rescuer rappelled alongside the victim. Something went wrong with the ropes as Officer Reishus attempted to stabilize them. He was pulled over a 3-foot safety wall and fell to the ground below. The person in the litter and the rappeller also fell to the ground and were both injured.

Officer Reishus had served with the Juneau Police Department for two years and had previously served with the Sitka Police Department for four years. He is survived by his wife, two sons and daughter.


  • Age 29
  • Tour 6 years
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Training accident
  • Incident Date Sunday, May 3, 1992

Most Recent Reflection

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I knew, worked with, and respected Karl. I was the first responding officer to the event related above, which happened directly across the street from Trooper Detachment on Sherwood Lane, where my department (Juneau P.D.) had two patrol desks.

At that time I was an 8-year patrolman. I had borrowed an air compressor from Karl about 4-months earlier but due to being on opposite patrol shifts, I'd failed to return it. (It became an "ownership vs Possession is 9/10ths" joke between us).

The day of his accident I was sitting at one desk completing a report when Karl entered the office area via a back door. He was wearing fireman bunker gear. He explained he had volunteered and was about to participate in "rope rescue scenarios" with the FD at the Fire Training Center (FTC).

"WTF?!!" (Says I), you're not a're a Policeman. You're gonna get yourself killed over there." (At this point I put a blank sheet of paper and a pen on the desk). "Do me a favor...write a quick Will saying the compressor is mine." "Nah" (says Karl) "I'll come over and get it when I'm done".

15-minutes later there's someone frantically beating on the back door screaming "There's been an accident!"...and I'm running to the FTC and radioing out for emergency assistance and at least one ambulance.

The two injured firemen (one hanging from ropes and one on the ground) both refused help, both pointing and telling me to "check on that guy!"

Due to the severity of his forehead injury, I didn't recognize him. Like we do, I went to work clearing his airway and pressure to the wound, talking to "the guy" and radioing responders to expedite...and that's when he stopped breathing/no pulse. CPR till the ambulance guys took over...and they did their best, too...but there was no recovering from that kind of head injury.

Essentially Karl died in the arms of a friend and brother who loved him, and who remembers him fondly.

Oh. And Karl...sorry dude, but I ha e no idea where our compressor has gone.

Sr. Det. Kenneth J. Jennings (ret)
Juneau Police Department

January 24, 2018

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