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Local law enforcement honor and remember Officer Hetland day of funeral

Posted at 5:14 PM, Jun 26, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-26 20:03:02-04

Hundreds of people lined the streets in the City of Racine along the procession route to pay their respects to Officer John Hetland.

On the corner of 8th St. and Washington Ave. an American flag was hoisted high to honor the fallen officer.

About a dozen Department of Public Works employees stood on the corner of the street as a sea of squad cars passed by.

Dee works for DPW. He said he met officer Hetland after he was in a car accident. The interaction was brief but memorable.

"He was a real pleasant gentleman, cracking jokes and he did mention to me he was going to retire," said Dee.

The loss of the fallen hero is felt throughout the City of Racine and across the State.

Law Enforcement members from all over Wisconsin and Illinois came to pay tribute to their fallen brother. Racine Fire Chief Steven Hansen said he knew Officer Hetland personally. He was at his house four days before he was tragically killed. He said Officer Hetland was a man who always put the needs of others first.

"He was focused on one thing. how can I help others," said Chief Hansen.

It will take a while for the community to heal but Chief Hansen said the way we honor the fallen hero is by looking after one another.

"The pain never goes away," he said. "It’s always there but it’s a reminder that we need to vigilant in everything we do. I think it’s a huge loss because his compassion and caring for the citizens of Racine goes beyond measure. His memory will not be lost among us in the fire department."