EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WLAX/WEUX) – Law enforcement throughout Northwestern Wisconsin gathered to honor those who’ve lost their lives in the line of duty.
“We honor those today who gave their lives,” Barron County Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald said. “They were called like all of us, so we can function, so we can feel safe, so society can exist.”
During National Police Week, members of law enforcement who died in the line of duty are honored.
“Even though we all bring our own experiences and we have walked a different route to get here today,” Eau Claire County Sheriff Dave Riewestahl said. “I’m thankful that collectively we get to honor the brave men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice for the safety and protection of our community.”
This year, the memorial service was especially meaningful after Western Wisconsin lost three members of law enforcement in the last two months.
“Starting in Cameron and Chetek and just law week in St. Croix County, these are some emotional times and we’re healing as well,” Lieutenant Jesse Henning with the Eau Claire Police Department said. “But, bringing everyone together to remember everyone today is one good first start of that healing.”
“When our family suffers a loss, we all grieve the loss together,” Chippewa County Sheriff Travis Hakes said. “But more importantly, we all heal together.”
Speakers at the event said they are determined to continue serving the community, while never forgetting those who made the ultimate sacrifice.
“I’m hoping that they just know that we got to work every day to serve our communities, to protect our communities,” Henning said. “We do it with pride.”
“We’re all affected by one of our brothers or sisters that are killed. However, I promise you it will not change from how we conduct ourselves,” Fitzgerald said. “It can’t affect the way we focus our mission. We shall honor those who have fallen by the service that we give you.”
No names were added to the memorial this year. Chetek Police Officer Emily Breidenbach, Cameron Police Officer Hunter Scheel and St. Croix County Deputy Kaitie Leising will be added to the roll call next year.