Remembering the fallen at law enforcement memorial service

Staff Writer
I cover the cities of Andover, Blaine and Ramsey. I have worked at ABC Newspapers since August 2007.

On a cloudy and rainy day, law enforcement came from across Anoka County to recognize officers who have died in the line of duty.

The May 17 Law Enforcement Memorial Service at the Anoka County Government Center paid tribute to Anoka Police Department Officer Verl Whinery (Jan. 18, 1947), Anoka County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Ernest Zettergren (Dec. 7, 1953), St. Francis Police Chief Gerald Boos (June 10, 1967), Columbia Heights Police Department Officer Curtis Ramsdell (July 30, 1977), Anoka County Sheriff’s Office Detention Deputy Richard Legler (Aug. 9, 1986), Minnesota State Patrol Corporal Timothy Bowe (June 7, 1997) and Lino Lakes Police Officer Shawn Silvera (Sept. 6, 2005).

Special tribute was paid to Silvera and his family.

Prior to the noon memorial service, a procession of squad cars from multiple departments left from the area along Interstate 35 south of Highway 97 in Columbus where Silvera was killed. The line of squads made their way to downtown Anoka for the memorial service at the government center.

Silvera was near stop sticks he had deployed to puncture the tires of a suspect who was fleeing police. This man, who had warrants for his arrest, drove around the stop sticks and struck and killed Silvera, 32, who had been a Lino Lakes police officer for seven years. He and his wife had two children at the time.

Seven flowers were pinned on a wreath to honor the seven law enforcement personnel who died in Anoka County. Aitkin County Sheriff Scott Turner served as the keynote speaker.

Anoka County Sheriff James Stuart pointed out a grim nationwide statistic during the service. According to the National Law Enforcement Memorial Fund, in 2016 law enforcement fatalities rose to their highest level in five years, with 143 officers killed in the line of duty, That’s a 10 percent increase over 2015 and the highest total since 2011.

“The trend is moving in the wrong direction,” Stuart said.

Of the 143 victims, nearly 70 lost their life to gunfire. This was the leading cause of death in 2016, Stuart said. Twenty-one died while being ambushed, he added.

“These were senseless attacks that were often spurred on by the negative propaganda and false anti-law enforcement rhetoric,” Stuart said. “We must embrace these truths. The truth that it is a difficult job; the truth that our law enforcement is routinely asked to respond to and deal with every failure within our societal systems; the truth that our protectors are not the enemy and should not be used as political scapegoats; the truth that statistics affirm that our protectors do an amazing job as they serve and protect us all without malice.”

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Law enforcement departments paid tribute to Shawn Silvera with a procession of squad cars to the Anoka County Government Center prior to the start of the May 17 Law Enforcement Memorial Service. They began in the area where Silvera was killed on Sept. 6, 2005 on Interstate 35, south of Highway 97, in Columbus. Photos by Eric Hagen The Anoka County Sheriff’s Office Honor Guard prepares to present the colors following a rifle inspection. Dennis Skrade played the bagpipes at Anoka County’s law enforcement memorial service on May 17. Anoka County Sheriff James Stuart shared that in 2016, nationwide law enforcement deaths were the highest since 2011. There were 143 officers killed in the line of duty. Anoka County Sheriff James Stuart, the honor guard and other law enforcement salute the U.S. flag. Rev. Aaron Damyanovich, pastor for Eagle Brook Church in Anoka, gave the benediction during the Anoka County Law Enforcement Memorial Service on May 17 at the Anoka County Government Center. The Anoka County law enforcement community provided a united front as they honored the sacrifices of the fallen of not only Anoka County but law enforcement around the nation. Keynote speaker, Aitkin County Sheriff Scott Turner, spoke of the tragic death of Investigator Steven Sandberg on Oct. 18, 2015, who was shot and killed while guarding a prisoner at St. Cloud Hospital. His officers and he were moved to tears to see the support both from other law enforcement and the community of Aitkin as a whole in the aftermath. Denise Bowe, widow of Minnesota State Patrol Corporal Timothy Bowe, pinned a flower on a wreath in honor of her late husband. A flower was placed for every one of the seven fallen law enforcement who died in Anoka County. Madelynn Silvera, 12, and her brother Jordan, 13, pinned a flower on a wreath in honor of their father Shawn Silvera, a Lino Lakes Police Officer who was killed on Sept. 6, 2005. Their mother, Jennifer Silvera Lindemer, also paid her respects to her late husband at the May 17 Anoka County Law Enforcement Memorial Service.
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Keynote speaker, Aitkin County Sheriff Scott Turner, spoke of the tragic death of Investigator Steven Sandberg on Oct. 18, 2015, who was shot and killed while guarding a prisoner at St. Cloud Hospital. His officers and he were moved to tears to see the support both from other law enforcement and the community of Aitkin as a whole in the aftermath.