Racine County honors 18 fallen officers ahead of Police Week in special ceremony at Hantschel Park

RACINE, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Racine County is honoring its fallen officers ahead of National Police Week.

A ceremony at Hantschel Park in Racine was held Tuesday morning to honor the 18 fallen officers since 1918. Thirteen of those are in the Racine Police Department alone. Dozens of officers and deputies from multiple departments including Racine and Mount Pleasant came out to pay their respects.

"Law enforcement is dangerous work, and we need to remember those that have given the ultimate sacrifice," Racine Mayor Corey Mason said.

Officer John Hetland of the Racine Police Department was the last officer who died in the line of duty in the county.

"He was a father, he was a son and he was a friend of many," Racine Police Chief Maurice Robinson said.

Hetland was responding to a robbery back in June of 2019 when he was shot and killed. Before that, the county had not lost an officer since 1974.

"Thankfully, the perpetrator was brought to justice, but that's just an example of the kind of risk that law enforcement officers go through every day when they're on the line of duty," Mason said.

"I come from Cincinnati where I lost people in the line of duty, and you just remember that. It doesn't matter what jurisdiction you're from, it always hits home for everybody when you get a chance to remember those that have gone on before us," Robinson said.

Robinson said it's important everyone takes a moment to pay their respects this week.

"It is important for the family members and the department members to see we all stand together in an occupation that is not easy to do. That is fraught with risk," he said.

Police departments are also encouraging you to wear a blue ribbon and to put out a blue light in front of your home this week to honor the fallen.

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