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Rosenstengel highway dedication on Oct. 4

Posted on Wednesday, October 1, 2014 at 12:50 pm

The late Orville Rosenstengel

The late Orville Rosenstengel

The families of fallen Vandalia police officer Orville Rosenstengel are looking forward to this Sunday when a Memorial Highway Dedication will be held to honor the late public servant who was shot 50 years earlier. The event will take place at 3 p.m. on October 4 at the V.F.W. Hall in Vandalia. There will be finger foods following the dedication. An effort began in June 2013 when Rosestengel’s descendants established an association to educate the public about positive role models like Orville and to combat the negative stereotypes of police officers. Rosenstengel’s family garnered signatures as required by MoDOT and raised the necessary funding for the project. The families involved in the dedication include his daughter Delores (Bill) Hogue and family; Neal (Linda) Rosenstengel and family; along with Warren (Charlotte) Rosenstengel and family. Rosenstengel lost his life on November 18, 1960 after receiving a call from a Ralls County resident that there was a prowler in the area. Though he was off duty at the time, Rosenstengel drove his own car, as his police cruiser was in the shop for repairs, and went to the residence. He apprehended William Thompson, who he did not know was a criminal as he didn’t have a police radio in his personal vehicle. He took Thompson to the Vandalia Police Department in his own car where Rosenstengel was shot in the chest and killed. Orville left behind a wife and three children, two of which were still dependents. Since he was off duty, his family was not entitled to full death benefits. Thompson was arrested and sentenced to 99 years in prison, where he eventually died. There are several pieces of Rosenstengel memorabilia on display at the Vandalia Area Historical Society Museum.