Honoring fallen officers

Anoka County’s fallen officers were honored at a law enforcement memorial ceremony May 16.

Bill Hammes, retired Lino Lake police sergeant and Coon Rapids resident, was the keynote speaker at the law enforcement memorial service held May 16. Photo by Kelly Johnson

Bill Hammes, retired Lino Lake police sergeant and Coon Rapids resident, was the keynote speaker at the law enforcement memorial service held May 16. Photo by Kelly Johnson

The annual event took place in the Anoka County Government Center atrium.

Prior to the ceremony, a procession of squad cars traveled from St. William’s Church in Fridley, where Deputy Ernest Zettergren was killed in 1953, to the government center in Anoka.

The memorial service is hosted by the Anoka County Sheriff’s Office in recognition of National Peace Officers Week.

Anoka County Sheriff James Stuart recognized all peace officers killed in the line of duty in Anoka County over the years as well as the 177 men and women who were killed protecting communities nationwide in 2011.

Stuart said that previously traffic related fatalities were the top cause of death for police officers nationally. However, in 2011 for the first time, firearms related incidents were the top cause of death of police officers.

“Every officers death must be seen as horrific,” Stuart said.

Bill Hammes, a retired Lino Lakes Police Sergeant who lives in Coon Rapids, was the keynote speaker.

He said there’s a saying that it’s not how these police officers died, but how they lived that makes them heroes.

Members of the Anoka County Sheriff’s Office honor guard post the colors. Photo by Kelly Johnson

Members of the Anoka County Sheriff’s Office honor guard post the colors. Photo by Kelly Johnson

“I don’t think there are truer words that have ever been spoken,” Hammes said.

“We must not and cannot forget those who stood tall and said ‘not on my watch’.”

Hammes called law enforcement “one of the most honorable devotions a person can choose.”

In 1962, President John F. Kennedy designated May 15 as National Peace Officers Memorial Day. The week containing May 15 was designated National Peace Officers Week.

Anoka County fallen officers

Verl C. Whinery, Anoka Police Department, Jan. 18, 1947

Ernest Zettergren, Anoka County Sheriff’s Office, Dec. 7, 1953

Gerald Boos, St. Francis Police Department, June 10, 1967

Curtis Ramsdell, Columbia Heights Police Department, July 30, 1977

Richard E. Legler, Anoka County Sheriff’s Office, Aug. 9, 1986

Timothy Bowe, Minnesota State Patrol, June 7, 1997

Shawn Silvera, Lino Lakes Police Department, Sept. 6, 2005

Kelly Johnson is at kelly.johnson@ecm-inc.com



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