Family, Friends & Fellow Officers Remember...

Chief of Police Richard Robert Vandermate

Oshkosh Police Department, Nebraska

End of Watch Friday, April 9, 1971

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Reflections for Chief of Police Richard Robert Vandermate

Chief Vandermate,
On today, the 50th anniversary of your death I would just like to say thank you for your service and sacrifice for the citizens of Oshkosh. And to your Family and loved ones, I wish to extend my deepest sympathy.


[email protected]
United States Border Patrol

April 9, 2021

We miss you Dad! You are my hero. I never got to have you walk me down the isle. You never got to hold your grandchildren but we Await the day we can be together again. ❤️


September 14, 2020

The uncle I never got to meet RIP

Randall Schreck

April 14, 2019

My husband was the other Oshkosh police officer at the time of his death. We were very young and had our 2nd baby at the hospital in Oshkosh. My husband was away at the Police Academy when this happened. I remember how afraid I was and how sad I was when I went to visit his wife. I barely remember the children, I guess because they were very well behaved. We moved away after the funeral. The city had hired a new officer to be Chief. I never forgot this time and what happened.

Jackie Burkey

September 3, 2015

I was in High School and used to ride around with Chief Vandermate at night. Rode with him a lot. My cousin Rick met me for school and told me what happened. Could not believe that Travis was the one that they were looking for. Seemed so strange with all the Officers and FBI in town looking and searching.

Years later I became a Deputy at Garden County Nebraska, Oshkosh and still think about him to this day. Never forgotten.
Vernon Jenewein

forme Deptyy
Garden County Sheriff's Office

August 31, 2015

I was just a teenager in Oshkosh when Chief Vandermate was killed. I do remember him. But how many of us ever knew he died on his son's 10th birthday? I did not know his children as they were much younger than I, but I am happy to hear their voices and share their love for a good, decent man. I'm sure their dad is very proud of them all.

Thank you Chief.

Lillian Covella
unknown friend

January 7, 2013

I wasn't quite 6 when Dad died. My memories of Him, sadly are few. However, that day we kids were told he wasn't coming home again will forever be etched in my mind. He will always be a hero to us. That day took away so many things from our family. When I hear of an officers death, my heart goes out to his/her family. We thank all officers that stand between us and danger to provide us with safety. Thank you

Neva (Vandermate) Tirrel
Daughter of Richard Vandermate

October 11, 2012

I was a 6 year old child, living in Oshkosh when Chief Vandermate was killed. I recall having to stay inside the house or school all the time until the murderer, Travis Rouse was captured. It was a scary time for Oshkosh!! I barely recall meeting the Vandermate children. Later, as a late teen I joined the volunteer ambulance squad in Oshkosh and recall meeting one of the Vandermate sons after transferring a patient to a hospital in Scottsbluff. Always wondered what happend to those kids who lost their fater at such a young age (he was only 32!!). I'm now a physician and know some of the doctors who treated the Chief...will ask about it. Salute to Chief Vandermate!!

Robert Sweet
unknown friend

August 8, 2012

Thank you for your service Sir, RIP

James Kotke
Civilian / Former Officer
WSF Park Police (Wi.)

April 9, 2012

Your heroism and service is honored today, the 41rst anniversary of your death. Your memory lives and you continue to inspire. Thank you for your service. My cherished son Larry Lasater was a fellow police officer who was murdered in the line of duty on April 24, 2005 while serving as a Pittsburg, CA police officer.

Time never diminishes respect. Your memory will always be honored and revered.

I pray for solace for all those that love and remember you for I know both the pain and pride are forever. Your family is in my heart's embrace. I thank your family and friends for sharing their memories and devotion to you through their reflections.

Rest In Peace

Phyllis Loya
Mom of fallen California Officer Larry Lasater, Pittsburg PD, eow 4/24/05

April 9, 2012

Another year has passed and you are still admired and respectfully remembered in the hearts and minds of so many. My thoughts and prayers are with your loved ones and friends on this anniversary of your EOW. You will never be forgotten.

James Sheppard
Father of Sgt. Jason L. Sheppard EOW 12/7/06

April 9, 2010

NSP 410

Trooper Rutan
Nebraska State Patrol

September 5, 2008

My dad was the best. He still is the best. He will always be the best.

He died on my 10th birthday, April 09th 1971. Since then my birthday are just for remembering about him and thinking about what could of been. I know God had a much more important job for the Cheif. I know he is looking at us now and smiling full of pride for his children.

One day we will meet again in heaven.

I love and miss you Dad.


Leonard Vandermate

August 8, 2008



May 1, 2008


Pat Van Den Berghe

April 9, 2008

"The Badge"

He starts his shift each day
To respond to calls unknown.
He drives a marked patrol car.
A police officer he is known.

He's paid by the citizens' taxes
To make it safe on the streets.
But he usually has a second job
'Cause a waitress has his salary beat.

Now he doesn't know a holiday
'Cause he works all year round.
And when Thanksgiving and Christmas finally arrive
At his home he cannot be found.

He's cursed and assaulted often,
The one whos blood runs blue.
He seldom ever gets a thanks,
To some he's just a fool.

His friends are always other cops
'Cause people just don't understand
That underneath his badge and gun,
He's just another man.

He knows there might not be a tomorrow
In this world of drugs and crime.
And he gets so mad at the court system
'Cause the crooks don't get any time.

And each day when he leaves for work,
He prays to God above.
Please bring me home after my shift
So I can see the ones I love.

But tonight he stops a speeding car,
He's alone down this ole' highway.
It's just a little traffic infraction.
He does it everyday.

Well, he walks up to the driver's window,
And his badge is shining bright.
He asked the guy for a driver's license,
When a shot rang through the night.

Yes, the bullet hit its mark,
Striking the officer in the chest.
But the Department's budget didn't buy
Each officer a bullet-proof vest.

So he lay on the ground bleeding.
His blood wasn't blue - His blood was red.
And briefly he thought of his loved ones
'Cause in a moment the officer was dead.

In the news they told the story
Of how this officer had died.
And some who listened cared less,
But those who loved him cried.

Well, they buried him in uniform
With his badge pinned on his chest.
He even had his revolver,
He died doing his best.

Written By:
David L. Bell
Richland County Sheriff's Department
Columbia, South Carolina
Used with Special Permission of the Author
Copyright © 1999 - All Rights Reserved
and may not be duplicated without permission

Investigator David L Bell
Richland County Sheriff's Dept., Columbia, SC

December 11, 2007

Its 36 years now since the death of my father. My dad was definately a hero. There are so many things I have been able to tell him, yet I know he is watching as he serves on a bigger force. I am sure he is looking down and admiring all of his 16 grandchildren and 13 greatchildren.
I am also sure he is saying "you did well son, so has your brother and sisters; you have all made me proud". I am also sure that the Chief is probably saying "if he had a chance to do his life all over again, he wouldn't change a thing, because he loved what he did."
So, On this anniversary dt. 04/09/07 of my of dad's death, I offer this to him wherever in the heavens he may be; Dad I Love you and I will always be proud of you and will always remember your caring and compassion towards others.

r.w. (vandy) Vandermate
loving son

R.W. (Vandy) Vandermate
loving son

April 9, 2007

Your service to the town of Oshkosh will never be forgotten. I grew up in Oshkosh, where my father is employed as an Officer for the USFWS. I am now an Officer for the Sidney Police Department, the same department where you were previously employed before going to Oshkosh. I never knew you, but will always regaurd you as one of the best. Rest in peace, brother.

Officer T. Shaul
Sidney, NE Police Department

October 29, 2006

I stop by this website often after the death of two dear friends with the NCSHP (Troopers Calvin Taylor E.O.W. October 3, 2001 and Anthony Cogdill E.O.W. May 30, 2003). Unfortunately, I had to add the name of another friend. Deputy Jeffrey Hewitt, Buncombe County (NC) Sheriff’s Department, E.O.W. April 4, 2004.

We all grieve over the lives lost in the line of duty. I hope you can find some comfort knowing that there are countless prayers that go out for your family.

Chief Vandermate, you are remembered on this date of your death. You will always be remembered.

These are senseless tragedies that never seem to stop. God Bless the men and women who continue to serve their communities in our great Nation.

...Gone, but never Forgotten....

Marti Ingle (EMT-Paramedic)
Haywood Co EMS (NC)

April 9, 2004

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