Female officers killed in Wisconsin ‘showed ultimate courage,’ law enforcement peers say
Four law enforcement officers in Minnesota and western Wisconsin have been killed in the line of duty in the past month, and two of those officers were women.
Chetek Police Officer Emily Breidenbach and St. Croix County Sheriff’s Deputy Kaitie Leising were both shot and killed while doing their jobs. Two top female law enforcement officers told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS their fallen peers showed immense courage.
White Bear Lake Police Chief Julie Swanson has been in law enforcement for 25 years. She said seeing two female officers gunned down hit close to home.
“It was pretty personal to see another woman shot in the line of duty just because after 25 years in this career, I haven’t really seen that. Just very, very rare,” Swanson said.
Swanson said in Minnesota, women make up about 12% of the total number of law enforcement officers, and the other 88% are men.
“But now we’re seeing more women assaulted in the line of duty, more women killed in the line of duty, and so it is concerning,” Swanson said.
Hennepin County Sheriff Dawanna Witt said it was the first time in her 23 years in law enforcement that she’s seen a female officer die in the line of duty.
“It’s one job and one standard, and we have all the same expectations when we pin these badges on,” Witt said. “But for it to be two women of the four here in the last month, that’s something you just don’t see.”
Swanson said both women who died in the line of duty were courageously upholding the oaths they took to protect and serve.
“They gave the ultimate sacrifice, but they showed the ultimate courage,” Swanson said.