Ceremony Honors Law Enforcement Officers Killed in Action
Sheriff's deputies and police officers from throughout Waukesha County take place in ceremony at Abundant Life Church in Oconomowoc as part of National Police Week.
Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.
The familiar Bible passage strikes home to many, especially during National Police Week where the men and women who have given their lives in the course of serving their community as police officers are honored.
“As police officers, we understand this all too well,” said Oconomowoc Police Chief Dave Beguhn, after reading the verse from John 15:13.
Law enforcement from throughout Waukesha County gathered Wednesday night at Abundant Life Church in Oconomowoc to take part in the Waukesha County Law Enforcement Officers’ Memorial Ceremony.
Waukesha County District Attorney Brad Schimel asked the crowd to express their gratitude to God that no police officer or sheriff’s deputy from the county has given the ultimate sacrifice for their job in the past year.
“I fear that day. I hope it will never come when we lose one of our officers on the job again,” Schimel said. “It is but for the grace of God that no one from our county has joined on the rank of the role call that we will reflect on in a few moments.”
The ceremony included pictures of law enforcement officers who recently were killed in the line of duty throughout the country. Waukesha County Sheriff Dan Trawicki said the part he kept thinking about during that portion of the ceremony was the large number of people who were killed while on duty.
“It is hard to comprehend that that many men and women died in the line of service in one year,” Trawicki said. “As you see those faces on the wall … you look at those faces and what awaits them. You look at the future that they had hoped that they would have.
“It is just crushing, it is just crushing, because every single one of them was a son, was a daughter, was a friend, was a child of God, every single one of them never expected to see their name or their face on that wall.”
The Waukesha Police Department has lost two police officers while on duty in its history. Both were shot and killed during the course of their work
Detective George Schmidling was killed June 11, 1961, while bringing a burglary suspect into the police station. A June 13, 1961, Milwaukee Sentinel article states that Schmidling was a six-year veteran on the force and considered “an expert pistol marksman.”
Capt. James Lutz was killed April 28, 1994, while attempting to apprehend a father-son bank robbery team. James Oswald and son, Theodore, were convicted in his death after their criminal plans went haywire in a shootout in Waukesha County.
“His life was ruthlessly taken by some coward criminals,” then-Gov. Tommy Thompson told The Milwaukee Journal days following Lutz’ death.