Salisbury Police Officer Wiley Lamm dies of cancer
Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 11, 2012
By Nathan Hardin
WINSTON-SALEM – Along with family and friends, Master Police Officer Wiley Lamm left behind a police department and a community he loved.
An officer for 23 years, 19 at the Salisbury Police Department, Lamm dedicated his life to helping others.
He died of cancer Monday afternoon at the Kate B. Reynolds Hospice House in Winston-Salem. He was 49.
In May, Lamm was honored at the Salisbury Rotary Club as the 2012 Veteran Officer of the Year for the Salisbury Police Department.
The award was acknowledged again at a City Council meeting last Tuesday. Lamm was too sick to attend that meeting.
In a Post interview in February, Lamm choked back tears only a few times. And when he did, it was when he spoke about friends and colleagues. Not of himself or his condition.
He was diagnosed in January with an advanced stage of cancer.
Close friend and police Capt. Melanie Thompson said the department felt the loss Monday afternoon.
“Everybody’s sad,” she said. “We’re glad to see him out of pain, but we’re sad to see him go.”
Lamm loved people. After 16 years as a patrol officer for Salisbury Police Department, he became the agency’s victim advocacy officer.
“This position was very fitting for Wiley, as the attributes required for that position fit perfectly with his personal and professional characteristics,” Police Chief Rory Collins said in a press release. “Officer Lamm was a genuine and loving man, who sincerely cared for those victims of crime that he encountered and he had a desire to help them as best he could.”
He flourished in the role.
“He’ll always be known as a gentleman, a hard worker,” Capt. Shelia Lingle said Monday, and someone who “really fought hard for the victim.”
Lamm was also known for growing the annual bike giveaway program that provides youths in the community with bicycles just before Christmas.
Giving bikes away to underprivileged children, he said, was the best part of his job.
“A bike to anybody means a lot,” he said at the time, “but especially to those kids out there (during Christmas). They don’t have what I have.”
Lamm made compassion his purpose, friends said.
Helping domestic abuse victims on his days off, Thompson said, is one of the things she’ll remember most.
“It’s a real loss to the community,” she said. “It’s a real loss to law enforcement.”
Collins said in the press release that in addition to helping victims, Lamm “was also a very well-rounded Police Officer who knew his job well and took joy in helping to teach younger police officers just entering the profession.”
He was recognized with a number of awards, including “Friend of the Child”; the city’s customer service award called “Keys to Excellence”; the “Family Crisis Council Appreciation Award,” presented to him in July; and four separate awards for being the Police Department’s Veteran Officer of the Year, more than any officer in the history of the agency.
Lingle said Lamm left a legacy at the department.
“We’re better people for having known him,” she said.
Lamm leaves behind two sisters, Monica and Florence.
A graveside service will be held Wednesday at 10 a.m. at the Brookhill Memorial Gardens Cemetery in Rockwell.
Contact reporter Nathan Hardin at 704-797-4246.