It is with heavy minds and hearts we bring this story to our community of readers.

Following a brief battle with an aggressive cancer, former Cedar County sheriff and current Polk County Sheriff’s Office deputy Leon Dwerlkotte, passed away in his home the morning of Wednesday, Sept. 25.

Ink and paper do not describe the deluge of emotions the Stockton and Bolivar communities share at a time such as this.

The same applies to an incalculable number of colleagues Dwerlkotte had in the law enforcement field.

Cedar County sheriff James McCrary, who worked with Dwerlkotte for more than two decades, shared his own sentiments in regard to the sad and unexpected news.

“Our office’s thoughts and prayers go out to Leon [Dwerlkottes]’s friends and family,” McCrary said. “He’ll be greatly missed and he was truly a good officer of the law.”

Dwerlkotte served two separate stints with the U.S. Army, with the CCSO and the PCSO from 1992 until his recent passing.

Those who knew Dwerlkotte will most certainly remember him as a man of integrity, respect and dedication to the communities he lived in and served.

Hundreds of law enforcement officers from across the greater Ozarks, along with family and friends, all turned out for a moving memorial service held Monday, Sept. 30, at the Stockton High School gymnasium.

An overwhelming show of support was also shown in Dwerlkotte’s funeral procession, which stopped traffic on South St. as well as Mo. 32, as emergency vehicles from numerous counties, and jurisdictions, as well as friends, family and community members, all passed under an America flag hung across the roadway as they made their way to Dwerlkotte’s graveside services and interment.

While I do not speak for everyone for knew Dwerlkotte, I can speak on behalf of those who follow his passion and commitment to public service. And, as someone who knew him personally, too. Not to any longstanding extent, but certainly well enough to know what kind of public servant he was.

A man of character, dedication, family, patriotism, education, humor, community and public service, Dwerlkotte could not be anything if he was not an officer of the law.

Our communities salute him and his decades of selfless service as we continue to hold his family and loved ones close.

Your brothers and sisters in uniform here will carry the torch as you begin to man your post in the next life, Sir.

Godspeed, Leon.

“Our hearts are hurting this morning with the news that Leon Dwerlkotte has passed away after a short illness. He will be greatly missed by all. A true hero that touched the hearts of many people. Please keep his family and friends in your thoughts and prayers.” — Official statement from Polk County sheriff Danny Morrison the morning of Dwerlkotte’s passing.

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