U.S. Department of Justice
Press Release

Wisconsin’s Two U.S. Attorneys Acknowledge Police Week


By - May 10th, 2020 12:00 am

In honor of National Police Week, United States Attorneys Matthew D. Krueger (Eastern District of Wisconsin) and Scott C. Blader (Western District of Wisconsin) recognize the service and sacrifice of federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement. The week will be observed Sunday, May 10 through Saturday, May 16, 2020.

“There is no more noble profession than serving as a police officer,” said Attorney General William P. Barr. “The men and women who protect our communities each day have not just devoted their lives to public service, they’ve taken an oath to give their lives in order to ensure our safety. And they do so not only in the face of hostility from those who reject our nation’s commitment to the rule of law, but also in the face of evolving adversity – such as an unprecedented global health pandemic. This week, I ask all Americans to join me in saying ‘thank you’ to our nation’s federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement officers. Their devotion and sacrifice to our peace and security will not be taken for granted.”

“Our country’s safety and prosperity depend on the rule of law, which requires law enforcement,” said U.S. Attorney Krueger. “The men and women who serve as police officers deserve our deepest thanks, especially now as they report to work daily at greater risk to themselves. Our police officers epitomize the highest value of sacrifice for the good of others. We especially remember Officer Rittner and Officer Hetland who made the ultimate sacrifice last year.”

“I am inspired every day by the unwavering commitment of America’s law enforcement officers to protect us as they face challenges and threats such as violence, terrorism, and now a pandemic,” said U.S. Attorney Blader.  “They are dedicated to making our communities safer and our country more secure, and the heroes who have given their lives in service to us will not be forgotten.”

In 1962, President Kennedy issued the first proclamation for Peace Officers Memorial Day and National Police Week to remember and honor law enforcement officers for their service and sacrifices. Peace Officers Memorial Day, which every year falls on May 15, specifically honors law enforcement officers killed or disabled in the line of duty.

Each year, during National Police Week, our nation celebrates the contributions of law enforcement from around the country, recognizing their hard work, dedication, loyalty and commitment to keeping our communities safe. This year the COVID-19 pandemic has underscored law enforcement officers’ courage and unwavering devotion to the communities they swore to serve.

Based on data collected and analyzed by the FBI’s Law Enforcement Officer Killed and Assaulted (LEOKA) Program, 89 law enforcement officers died nationwide in the line of duty in 2019, including Milwaukee Police Officer Matthew Rittner on February 16 and Racine Police Officer John Hetland on June 17.

Comprehensive data tables about these incidents and brief narratives describing most of the fatal attacks are included in the sections of Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted, 2019.

In addition, the Milwaukee Police Department lost Officer Kou Her, who was killed on June 18 when a driver ran a red light and struck Her’s vehicle as he was driving home after his shift.  The other driver has been charged with homicide by intoxicated use of a vehicle.

The names of the fallen officers who have been added in 2020 to the wall at the National Law Enforcement Memorial will be read on Wednesday, May 13, 2020, during a Virtual Annual Candlelight Vigil. Because public events have been suspended as a result of COVID-19, the vigil will be livestreamed to the public at 8:00 pm (EDT). To register to view this free online event, please www.LawMemorial.org/webcast.

To learn more about National Police Week and the virtual candlelight vigil, please visit https://www.youtube.com/user/TheNLEOMF.

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