RIP Wayne Strong, a citizen!

Nicholas Garton

Retired Madison Police Lieutenant Wayne Strong, 62, passed away Monday, leaving many who knew him in the community shocked and saddened. Strong was a beloved presence in the lives of youths he mentored, people he worked with and community organizations he was involved with.

“He’s just one of those people who is irreplaceable,” said David Dahmer, an editor with Madison365 who knew Strong in several capacities over multiple decades. “He was always just very kind, generous, and thoughtful. He was a great mentor for the young people in the community.”

Strong’s fingerprints were all over the community. He was co-director of the Southside Raiders, a youth football team that focused on much more than just football. The Raiders instilled the values of self-esteem, teamwork, character, education, and safety in the youths who participated in the football and cheerleading programs.

Strong spent 24 years as a Madison police officer and was involved with the Southside Raiders for 27 years. He also ran for Madison School Board on multiple occasions and he was a member of the Wisconsin State Journal’s editorial board. Strong was involved in organizations such as Just Dane, The Road Home, and the YWCA.

Former Madison Police chief Noble Wray said that he worked with Strong since the early 1990s and that Strong’s passion for serving the community was still as strong as ever.


Strong was one of the city’s first school-based police officers. He believed strongly that getting to know students and staff as an officer walking the halls was the best way to understand and defuse trouble.

When an East High mom who opposed police officers in schools disagreed with Strong on social media about a State Journal editorial he had posted, Strong met in person with her. After a cordial discussion, they still didn’t agree. But they understood each other’s perspectives much better than before.

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