LA CROSSE, Wis. (WLAX/WEUX) – Each May, the nation honors police officers, past and present as a part of National Police Week.
First News at Nine’s Alex Loroff speaks with officers in La Crosse about why they wanted to join the police force and what the week means to them.
There are thousands of officers serving in the United States, with each one having their own reason to pursue the career.
“I actually have family that’s in law enforcement and also past military, so it kind of just lead me into that direction,” said Nick Raddant, a Neighborhood Resource Officer with the La Crosse Police Department (LCPD).
“I had a neighbor who was a school resource officer in my school where I grew up,” LCPD Patrol Officer Joel Miller said. “We were friends and I got to do ride-alongs with him, and that kind of inspired me to get into law enforcement.”
Miller has been a police officer for 15 years, and even though he’s seen a lot in his career, some days are still harder than others.
“You see heartache and trauma, and it’s hard to go through that with other people,” Miller described. “It’s gotten easier the more you do it, but as I’ve gotten married and had kids sometimes things hit closer to home than others.”
Raddant says being a police officer has changed during his nine years of service, but he’s grateful to work in an encouraging community like La Crosse.
“It has gotten difficult, but with the way the community is in La Crosse we get a lot of support, so I’m very thankful for this type of community,” Raddant said.
Raddant and Miller were among those in attendance at the annual Law Enforcement Memorial Ceremony in Onalaska on Wednesday.
The event paid tribute to fallen officers from the area and the country.
Both the ceremony and the week provide an opportunity for officers to reflect on their service and what it means to them.
“I think it’s humbling, and I think it’s great that communities take the time to respect and honor those that are working and have fallen,” Raddant said.
“It’s a sobering week, you realize that the names on our wall that have died in the line of service hit closer to home,” Miller added. “But it also is reaffirming as far as the reason that you do it and choose to do it despite any of the risks or dangers.”
In La Crosse, Alex Loroff, First News at Nine.
National Police Week culminates on May 15th, which is recognized as National Peace Officers Memorial Day.