Green Bay Police honor officers who made ultimate sacrifice

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) -- In 1962, President John F. Kennedy proclaimed May 15 as Peace Officers Memorial Day.

It's become part of National Police Week and law enforcement agencies across the country are paying tribute to those who gave their lives in the line of duty.

On Wednesday, the Green Bay Police Department honored the thousands of men and women who gave their lives protecting their communities.

“So far, since this country was founded, 23,720 law enforcement officers, men and women, from across the country have lost their lives in the line of duty,” said Green Bay Police Chief Andrew Smith.

To date in Wisconsin, 288 officers have died in the line of duty, including three in the last year in Milwaukee.

“The three names being added this year to the law enforcement memorial in Washington DC are [Charles] Irvine, [Matthew] Rittner and
[Michael] Michalski.”

In Green Bay, only one officer has died in the line of duty.

“1951, George Antone Motquin was killed right here in our city, right over there off Main Street when he was hit by a drunk driver as he was walking,” said Chief Smith.

Chief Smith says the fact that only one Green Bay police officer has died in the line of duty in six decades says a lot about the safety of the community.

“It says that this is a safe community. It has a community that trusts the police. It says the relationship between the police and the people that live here is a good relationship.”

Mayor Eric Genrich also paid tribute to the families of officers who make sacrifices of their own.

“Every single day those in law enforcement and those who are close to them recognize that the ultimate sacrifice is a possibility, and so we are forever grateful for those who serve us, protect us and keep us safe,” said Mayor Genrich.