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John Hetland: Fallen Racine officer was just months away from retirement, police association says

Racine police officer John Hetland
Posted at 3:19 PM, Jun 18, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-18 18:19:45-04

RACINE, Wis. -- The Racine police officer who was shot and killed during an overnight armed robbery at a bar was just months away from retirement, TODAY'S TMJ4 has learned.

Officer John Hetland was only six to eight months away from retiring and spending more time with his two children, according to Jim Palmer, the Executive Director of the Wisconsin Professional Police Association.

"I don't think you could run into someone who doesn't think John is just a great person...his sense of humor, he's very vocal, very assertive," Palmer said. "There is a lot of wisdom in his words."

Palmer also said Hetland's duty will eventually be considered a 'line of duty' death.

"Because he was taking actions consistent with his law enforcement authority, it will be considered a line of duty death," Palmer said.

Officer Hetland was at Teezers Tavern in Racine when he intervened in an armed robbery and was shot.

Hetland served the Racine Police Department for 24 years. He also served as a field training officer and a member of the Greater Racine FBI Gang Task Force.

The investigation and the search for the suspect both remain active.

Anyone with additional information is asked to contact the Kenosha County Sheriff's Department at 262-656-1234.