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A time to pause and reflect

The Green Bay Police colorguard pays homage to Wisconsin law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty on National Peace Officer’s Memorial Day, held Wednesday, May 15, at the department’s Adams Street location. Kris Leonhardt photo
The Green Bay Police colorguard pays homage to Wisconsin law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty on National Peace Officer’s Memorial Day, held Wednesday, May 15, at the department’s Adams Street location. Kris Leonhardt photo

By Kris Leonhardt

Editor-in-chief

GREEN BAY – The Green Bay Police Department gathered to honor and remember Wisconsin law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty on National Peace Officer’s Memorial Day, held Wednesday, May 15, at the department’s Adams Street location.

“It’s a time to pause, respect, honor and remember our law enforcement heroes who have lost their lives in the line of duty,” said Green Bay Police Communications Coordinator Jennifer Gonzalez.

Green Bay Police and Fire Commission President Rod Goldhahn called police officers a “special breed of people.”

“In small towns or big cities — whether your department is two or 2,000 — any day could bring you face-to-face with a deranged individual with a weapon or as simple as a distracted driver trying to beat the semi to an exit when you are out doing your job on the side of the road. You are faced with multiple situations every day and your loved ones at home wait and pray for your safe return,” Goldhahn said.

After the program, Green Bay Police Chief Chris Davis talked about the ups and downs of police work in the community, which included missing birthdays and holidays at home and that “unknown risk.”

“I think that it is important to be really clear with young people who are looking at career choices about what police work really is. There is a popular myth of what we see on police dramas and that kind of thing in the popular culture and it is really not like that. It really is a lot of opportunities to help other people. Yes, there is always that risk, and you live in this world all of the time with that unknown risk, but in the process you get that opportunity to do a lot of really good things and to make a really positive impact on other people,” Davis said.

Only department loss

Gonzalez said that during its history, the department has only lost one officer.

Patrolman George Motquin was killed on Dec. 17, 1951, on the way home from his police beat. Kris Leonhardt photo

Patrolman George Motquin was killed on Dec. 17, 1951, on the way home from his police beat.

The Press Gazette stated the following day that Motquin was crushed “between two cars in a traffic accident at the corner of Main and Webster.”

“The driver of the car skidded through the icy intersection and hit Officer Motquin as he walked across Main Street,” the article stated.

The driver was home on leave from the Air Force during the holidays.

“The tragedy occurred only a few seconds after the officer had called police headquarters to check out on his 3-11 p.m. work shift,” the article added.

The driver collided with another vehicle that had started across Main from North Webster.

Both drivers said that they were unable to stop because of the icy road conditions.

Motquin died on the way to the hospital; he was just 36 years old and a Navy veteran.

The airman had been drinking prior to the accident and was found guilty of negligence during an all-day jury inquest later that month.

The event coincided with National Police Week, held May 12-18.

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