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Greenfield screening of documentary reveals police work's emotional element

May 7, 2013

Greenfield - Riveting, powerful, thought-provoking.

Those are the words that Greenfield Assistant Police Chief Paul Schlecht used to describe a documentary that tells the harrowing stories of law enforcement officers who were killed or wounded in the line of duty and how that affected them and their families.

The Police Department is co-sponsoring a showing of the documentary, "Heroes Behind The Badge," at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the Greenfield High School Performing Arts Center, 4800 S. 60th St.

The screening is a fundraiser for the National Law Enforcement Memorial in Washington, D.C. and for Shielded Hearts, a nonprofit organization that supports families of law enforcement officers and helps police departments through such efforts as providing Teddy bears for police to give to small children in traumatic situations.

The documentary has been shown by police departments all over the country and has been well received, Schlecht said.

The stories the documentary tells are riveting, but especially moving is the story of an officer who was ambushed - "gunned down by a suspect with a rifle,"Schlecht said - in Memphis. Adding to the emotional element is the fact that the police chief, the slain officer's father, was the first officer to arrive at the shooting scene, he said.

The impact of such violence on families and how they deal with it is part of the film's focus.

One of the stories took place in Wisconsin, where two Fond du Lac officers were shot in 2011. Officer Craig Birkholz was killed and Officer Ryan Williams was wounded. The documentary follows Williams as he visits the National Law Enforcement Memorial to see the name of his comrade remembered there.

"It's a very powerful film," Schlecht said. It gives a humanity to the names of the officers who were hurt or who made the ultimate sacrifice, he said.

Those who see the documentary will come away with a better idea of the sacrifices that were made for them, Schlecht said. "It leaves something to think about."

The May 14 documentary showing will be held to salute National Police Week, May 13-17.

Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door. Advance tickets are available online atgreenfieldpolice.org.

- Jane Ford-Stewart

AT A GLANCE

WHAT: showing of the documentary "Heroes Behind The Badge"

WHEN: 7 p.m. May 14

WHERE: Greenfield High School Performing Arts Center, 4800 S. 60th St.

COST: $15 in advance and $20 dollars at the door. Advance tickets are available online at greenfieldpolice.org

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