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Watch: Bell tolls for fallen officers in River Falls

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A line of officers from various agencies from Pepin, Pierce and St. Croix counties read aloud the names of every law enforcement officer killed in the line of duty in 2016. Mike Longaecker / RiverTown Multimedia2 / 2

RIVER FALLS — Law enforcement officers from three western Wisconsin counties gathered Tuesday to honor those killed in the line of duty.

The ceremony, comprising law enforcement agencies from Pepin, Pierce and St. Croix counties, was anchored by a presentation from Wisconsin State Patrol Maj. Anthony Burrell.

Burrell, who began his career patrolling St. Croix County, delivered the night’s keynote speech, in which he described his experience after a fellow trooper was slain Fond du Lac.

The incident left Trooper Trevor Casper dead in his first day on the road on March 24, 2015. Burrell was one of many officers who raced to the scene, in which Casper fired a fatal shot at his assailant before succumbing to three gunshot wounds. Burrell was one of two officers who helped Casper to a squad car that took him to an ambulance.

“Still a little tough,” he told the audience in the River Falls High School auditorium, recalling the deadly day.

He called on officers in the crowd to prepare to make a sacrifice at some point in their careers.

“At some time in your career, you will save a life … by putting your own on the line,” Burrell said before receiving a standing ovation.

St. Croix County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Scott Knudson delivered closing remarks, telling the audience that those who envision themselves as martyrs or revolutionaries in their quest to kill law enforcement officers never achieve their mission.

“Their ultimate goal failed,” he said, telling fellow officers, “We stayed the course and we are accomplishing our mission.”

Knudson said he was struck by the solidarity among law enforcement and community members while observing a motorcade for a Rusk County sheriff’s deputy killed last year in the line of duty.

“I was assured that our profession is strong,” Knudson said. “We will persevere and we will not forget our fallen.”

Mike Longaecker

Mike Longaecker is the regional public safety reporter for RiverTown Multimedia. His coverage area spans St. Croix and Pierce counties. Longaecker served from 2011-2015 as editor of the Woodbury Bulletin. A University of Wisconsin-River Falls graduate, Longaecker previously reported for the Red Wing Republican Eagle and for the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau. You can follow him on Twitter at @Longaecker

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