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Officers in Milwaukee, Racine mourn losses together with the rest of Wisconsin

Posted at 8:52 PM, Jun 18, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-18 22:28:17-04

It's been an emotional day for the brothers and sisters in blue in Milwaukee, Racine, and all over southeast Wisconsin.

Even though southeast Wisconsin has now lost five officers in just over a year, the Executive Director of the Wisconsin Professional Police Association Jim Palmer said it doesn't get any easier.

"Any time something like that happens, anywhere around the country, officers feel it very profoundly," said Palmer. "I don't think they get use to it. I mean officers have to become desensitized to a lot of the things that they encounter and endure everyday," said Palmer.

But not when it comes to losing one of their own.

"Officers may punch out and come off the clock, but it's clear that they never really turn off that instinct to help people and to step up and protect others when the need arises," said Palmer.

The Wisconsin state Lodge Fraternal Order of Police said in a statement, "The Wisconsin State Lodge Fraternal Order of Police is saddened to learn of the passing of two of our brothers in Southeast Wisconsin. The dedicated men and women in law enforcement in Wisconsin are exposed to dangers every day, both on and off duty, and face these dangers courageously while upholding their oath to protect and serve their communities. Our thoughts and prayers are with the friends and families of Officer Kou Her and Officer John Hetland, as well as their brothers and sisters at the Milwaukee Police Department and Racine Police Department."

The grief reaches beyond those in uniform, affecting entire communities.

"This is a real loss for the city. The city of Racine and city of Racine Police Department is in mourning... and today those officers need support more than ever," said Racine Mayor Cory Mason.

"This is a difficult time, as we've had before in the last year to lose a police officer and I want the residents of this city to know and to appreciate the work that's done by our police officers," said Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett.

Support for both departments continues to pour in.