Chief of Police Roland Silas "Todd" Payne

Chief of Police Roland Silas "Todd" Payne

Wisconsin Rapids Police Department, Wisconsin

End of Watch Friday, November 10, 1939

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Roland Silas "Todd" Payne

Chief Payne suffered a fatal heart attack following a struggle with two suspects in which he was struck in the head with a flashlight. He and the Undersheriff of Wood County were transporting two juvenile suspects from Plymouth, Indiana, back to Wood County. During a fuel stop one of the suspects was able to steal a handgun from a store. As the vehicle neared Adams, Wisconsin, the prisoner fired a shot into the front of the car.

Chief Payne immediately jumped into the backseat and began struggling with the suspects as the Undersheriff stopped the car. The Undersheriff also began to struggle with the suspects but one of the prisoners was able to get out of the car and then ordered the two officers out at gunpoint. The prisoners then handcuffed the officers together and placed them in the back of the car. As the two began to drive away Chief Payne suffered the heart attack and slumped over in the backseat. The suspects stopped the car and left both officers on the side of the road. The suspects stopped at a nearby tavern and reported that two men had been hit by a car down the road, and then continued to flee.

The suspects were spotted the following day by a Michigan State Trooper, who chased them into a nearby woods. The suspects were apprehended after a large manhunt. The 14-year-old suspect was not charged because of his age. The 17-year-old suspect was charged with murder but the charges were reduced by a judge to armed robbery and assault. He was sentenced to three to ten years in a reformatory.

Chief Payne had been with the agency for 26 years.


  • Age 65
  • Tour 26 years
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Assault
  • Weapon Blunt object; Flashlight
  • Offender Sentenced to 10 years

Most Recent Reflection

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Rest in peace Uncle Todd. Your service will always be honored.

Deb Gunther
Great-great niece

November 9, 2014

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