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Fallen officers honored in Milwaukee

Posted at 6:01 PM, May 08, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-08 19:01:36-04

Wednesday was an emotional day for many as officers, community members and surviving families from all over Milwaukee County came together to remember those killed in the line of duty both, recent and years ago.

It was all for the Greater Milwaukee Law Enforcement Memorial Ceremony at the Wisconsin Center.

One by one, the Milwaukee County Police Community shared the names and stories of officers killed on the job. Some in years past, like Jay Balchunas in 2004.

“Jay Balchunas came to my rescue in 1997 to my rescue in my first incident, he passed away and there was nobody to come to his rescue,” Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales said.

But also Officer Charles Irvine, Officer Michael Michalski, and Officer Matthew Rittner. Officer Irvine was killed in June of 2018 in a single-vehicle crash while pursuing another vehicle. Officer Michalski was shot and killed in July of 2018. Officer Rittner was shot and killed as he executed a narcotics and firearms related search warrant in February.

“As I stand here you can see empty chairs, to signify what they gave, which is everything," Shawn Lauda, the Milwaukee Police Association President, said.

Family members of those most recently lost while serving the city shared a moment placing flowers on the vacant chairs.

“They will never be forgotten," Morales said. "Decades from now we will be remembering things from them.”