In light of National Police Week, the Marathon Co. Sheriff's Dept. put on an event to honor fallen officers in our area. For some friends and family of those lost, the law enforcement ceremony hit close to home.
Officials said a few words for Detective Jamison Kampmeyer, who died in March, while helping put out a fire at the Abby Theatre in Abbotsford.
"Technically his death was not a law enforcement line-of-duty death, but that's not important to me. He died serving his community, I believe that is what is important to remember," said Randy Hoenisch, Marathon Co. Sheriff.
Since 1995, the Marathon Co. Sheriff's Dept. has been honoring officers who have paid the ultimate price to keep their communities safe with an annual ceremony. Authorities said they remembered Kampmeyer and Jeff Sheets in particular. Sheets lost his life after being shot in 1994. He was trying to save a man who refused to leave a dangerous area.
"It's hard to believe that 18 years have passed since that tragic day," said Hoenish.
Memorial event organizer, Detective Sean McCarthy recalls the day Jeff Sheets was killed.
"I remember having to go to work that afternoon, working the afternoon shift on the road and just the whole somberness of the department, it just resonated, a day like that," said McCarthy.
McCarthy also remembered his good friend Kampmeyer. An officer, who McCarthy said, like Jeff Sheets, had his career cut short.
"I worked closely with Jamison Kampmeyer, and his end of watch came too soon," he said.
The Kampmeyer family was at the ceremony, but said talking about the fallen hero was too difficult. Jeff Sheet's daughter, Erin, said she feels for them. She said 18 years later, it's still hard for her to talk about her father. She was six-years old when she lost him.
"I don't even know what to say, I feel for them, I feel for them. I wish them the best our prayers are with them," said Erin Sheets.
Her feelings were also shared by the officers who came to the event.
"Things like this really hit home to go through two of those funerals people in your own department. It's tough," said McCarthy.
It was a tough day, filled with memories of fallen heroes that these families and officers will never forget.
The Marathon Co. Sheriff's Dept. Honor Guard that performed at the ceremony will go down to Madison on May 18 to give a 21 gun salute for Wisconsin's fallen officers.