Sartell police officer dies from complications after neck surgery

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The Sartell Police Department is mourning the loss of an officer who died after suffering complications from surgery, the St. Cloud Times reports.

Joe Schmitz died Thursday, police officials said. He had worked for the Sartell Police Department since 2012, and before that served for 19 years with Paynesville Police Department. The Times says Schmitz also worked part-time for police departments in Cold Spring and Richmond.

Schmitz's CaringBridge page said the officer was admitted to the hospital March 20 for an unexpected surgery for a bulging disc in his neck. He went home after surgery when the complications arose.

"He returned home with his family but developed complications when an artery ruptured in his neck pressing against his airway," Schmitz's Caring Bridge page said.

Schmidt, whose age was not given, died with his family by his side. He is survived by his wife, Stacy Landborg-Schmitz, and their 4-year-old son, the Times says.

An account has been established for Schmitz's family under "Joe Schmitz 7907" at Central Minnesota Credit Union.

The Sartell Police Department issued a statement about Schmitz, calling him "an outstanding officer."

"He was tall in stature with a big heart and a smile just as big. Even though Joe was only with Sartell for two years, he stepped right in as a seasoned, experienced officer," Sartell Police Chief Jim Hughes said. "He will be missed by the people he was sworn to protect and by the members of the department."

KSTP says Schmitz's organs will be donated.

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