Weather Forecast


Nation's fallen law enforcement officers remembered

Lt. Jason Sykora of the St. Croix County Sheriff's Department, left, and Officer Aaron McWilliams of the Roberts Police Department salute the nation's fallen law enforcement officers after placing a wreath in their honor. Photo by Randy Hanson less

A memorial service was held Tuesday evening, May 14, in the Hudson High School auditorium to honor the nation's law enforcement officers who have died in the line of duty.

U.S. Marshal Dallas Neville, who serves the Western District of Wisconsin, was the keynote speaker for the service commemorating national Police Memorial Day. It was organized by St. Croix County Sheriff John Shilts and police chiefs from around the county.

Neville spoke about the Wisconsin officers he recalled being killed on duty over the course of his 33-year law enforcement career, beginning as a jailer-dispatcher for the Clark County Sheriff's Department.

They included:

--Eau Claire Police Officer Robert Bolton, who was shot and killed at the age of 28 during a domestic disturbance;

--Barron County Sheriff Wally Larson, struck by a semi-truck while responding to a traffic accident;

--State Trooper Deborah McMenamin, struck by a passing vehicle while making a traffic stop;

--Fairfield Police Chief Patrick McCready, shot and killed as he responded to a domestic disturbance call;

--Burnett County Sheriff's Deputy Allen Albee, shot and killed while trying to apprehend a felony suspect; and

--State Trooper William Schoenberger, who died of injuries he suffered when his patrol car was hit by a tractor-trailer on I-94.

Finally, Neville recalled his best friend in law enforcement, Marathon County Sheriff's Deputy Jeff Sheets, "shot and killed by a deranged guy in broad daylight" on May 21, 1994.

Sheets was a native of Clark County. He and Neville became close friends when Sheets was a Greenwood police officer and Neville was a sheriff's deputy.

"We did everything together, on and off duty," Neville recalled. They were in each other's weddings and later shared photographs of their children.

"He was one of those best friends -- and folks who are in law enforcement will know what I am talking about," Neville said.

Sheets' death a week before Neville was sworn in as U.S. marshal took some of the joy away from that event, Neville indicated.

He closed by telling the law enforcement officers in attendance that they could be assured that if they die in the line of they will be remembered.

"Your friends will remember you. Your family will remember you. Your community will remember you. You will not be forgotten," Neville said. "So go as peacemakers with a strong heart and do good things."

The service involved representatives of several local and state law enforcement agencies.

The St. Croix County Law Enforcement Color Guard carried in the flags and ceremoniously placed them on the stage.

St. Croix County Sheriff's Deputy Erik Dunn sang the national anthem, accompanied by a Hudson High School instrumental ensemble directed by Ryan McCarthy.

Hudson Police Chief Marty Jensen gave the welcome and closing remarks.

Pastor Curt Thomassen of Cornerstone Assembly in New Richmond, a sheriff's department chaplain, gave the invocation.

Pastor Larry Szyman of Faith Community Church in Hudson, also a sheriff's chaplain, prayed the benediction. He appealed with emotion for fewer law enforcement officers to lose their lives in 2013 than the 120 officers killed in the line of duty in 2012.

Photos of each of the officers killed last year were projected on a screen and local officers took turns reading the names of the deceased and the agency they served. The diversity of the fallen officers, in race and gender, was striking.

Chief Jensen thanked Hudson High School teacher Daniel Weiland and student Alex Burgess for putting together the slide show.

Wreaths were placed on stands on the stage to honor the fallen.

Jensen noted that two Wisconsin officers were killed in 2012. Wauwatosa Police Officer Jennifer Sebena died from gunfire and Milwaukee County Deputy Sheriff Sergio Aleman lost his life in an automobile accident.

Jensen also named the three St. Croix County law enforcement officers who have died in the line of duty: Harold O. Harris of the sheriff's office in 1904, Clarence Erickson of the Hudson Police Department in 1953 and Lee Murphy of the St. Croix County Highway Patrol in 1955.

North Hudson Police Chief Mark Richert read the Law Enforcement Memorial Prayer. Dana Juaire, the St. Croix County Sheriff's Department correctional officer of the year for 2012, read the Correctional Officer Prayer.

Randy Hanson

Randy Hanson has reported for the Star-Observer since 1997. He came to Hudson after 11 years with the Inter-County Leader at Frederic, and eight years of teaching social studies. He’s a graduate of UW-Eau Claire.

(715) 426-1066