Law enforcement in Winona honor the fallen

Thirty-six police officers have been killed in 2016 according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund

In this country, a police officer dies in the line of duty every 61 hours.

On Wednesday, law enforcement in Winona County remembered those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.

Three law enforcement officers have been killed in Winona County over the past century and a half, the last in the year 2000, but each year local law enforcement believe it’s important to honor those who have gone before them, and their families.

A ceremony held at the Winona County Law Enforcement Center honored the three fallen officers with memorials bearing their names just outside the building.

One of those is Winona County Sheriff’s Investigator John Schneider who was shot and killed Sept. 7, 1980 responding to a domestic situation.

“Everybody loved him,” Schneider’s son-in-law, Jon Meyer, said.

Meyer said the experience is nothing anyone should ever have to go through.

“He was a very easy guy to talk to, he helped a lot of kids who were in trouble, he helped a lot of kids get their lives straight, they would call him in the middle of the night,” Meyer said. “He was like a father to a lot of kids.”

Current law enforcement believe this memorial is a great way to honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.

“It’s an opportunity to thank the officers that came before us, to have a time for some remembrance from them, remember what they did, what they sacrificed, and like it was said here today, sometimes even more what the family sacrifices,” Winona County Deputy Sheriff Jeff Mueller said.

Meyer said coming to this memorial every year means a lot to his family, because there continues to be so much support for them. He said the three memorials outside the Winona County LEC should be a reminder each day of just how costly this job can be.

“I think the message we try to get across a lot is that people really don’t have the full understanding of the risks the officers do put on, or that are put on the officers every day, every morning when they get up,” Meyer said.

Schneider’s memory lives on through two memorial scholarships for law enforcement students pursuing higher education.

Thirty-six police officers have been killed in the line of duty already this year according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.

Next week is National Police Week.