MILWAUKEE — Fallen Milwaukee Police Officer Matthew Rittner was honored outside of the Milwaukee Police Department on July 27 when the End of Watch: Ride to Remember tour rolled through the area.
A trailer was led by a group of motorcyclists and marked with the faces of 146 law enforcement officers who lost their lives while on-duty is making its way across the nation. The trailer is stopping at 99 departments in 30 different states. A group of about a dozen volunteers is making the trip spanning 18,000 miles.
The celebration of Matthew Rittner's life was appreciated by the people who closely knew him.
"Matt left that day to do his job, and he never got to say goodbye," said MPD Lt. Erik Gulbrandson. "It happened in a split second and for people to recognize what these officers are sacrificing, the risk that they’re putting out there is so incredibly important."
Milwaukee Officer Rittner was killed while serving a search warrant in February 2019. Racine Police Officer John Hetland, who was shot while intervening with an armed robbery in June of 2019, is also featured on the tour.
As the group of volunteers makes their way from community to community, they raise money for the families of fallen police officers. It's all part of the nonprofit Beyond the Call of Duty.
"What I wanted to try to do was try to reach out to let them know that they’re not alone in losing one," said Jagrut Shah, Beyond the Call of Duty Chairman.
He gave a speech about the sacrifice made by Rittner and said a prayer for the Milwaukee Police Department during the ceremony.
"Because of COVID, there wasn't a grieving process," said Shah. "So, they really appreciate this even more."
Monday's stop was number 58 of 99. The tour started in Spokane, Washington on June 1 and the final stop will be in Montana on August 6.