ROCHESTER, Minn. -- "I'm just going through a lot of emotions this week," said Wendy Trumpold, the daughter of Jack Werner.
Jack Werner was a deputy at the Olmsted County Sheriff's Office. On May 17, 1977, he was shot in the chest and killed while pulling over a suspect who was driving erratically in a mall parking lot. The suspect later admitted that his goal was to kill an officer that night.
Trumpold was only one and a half years old when she lost her father. She feels robbed of having memories with her dad. "I have things that my grandma has told me about him, but otherwise I have nothing to go by."
Tuesday, May 15, just two days before the 41st anniversary of Werner's death, is National Peace Officer Memorial Day. Across the nation, flags are lowered to half-mast and communities hold programs to honor fallen law enforcement officers.
In Minnesota, members of law enforcement agencies are gathering in St. Paul at the Peace Officer Memorial. Members of the Minnesota Law Enforcement Memorial Association Honor Guard take shifts walking the blue line in front of the memorial and stand in silent guard for 24 hours. There are also wreath ceremonies every 15 minutes. Rochester Police Department's Sergeant Bert Otto is a member of the Minnesota LEMA Honor Guard.
"At times it can be very emotional and touching to be a part of. It's really an honor to remember all of the officers that have died in the line of duty and be a part of that remembrance," said Sergeant Otto.
Today, the Olmsted County Sheriff's office is wearing pins with Werner's name on it, and black or black and blue mourning patches over their badges in honor of peace officers who have died in the line of duty. With the money they raised selling the pins, they sent Trumpold and her husband to D.C. last year to see Werner's name on the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial. This year, she laid a wreath for her father at St. Paul memorial.
Now, Trumpold wants a place closer to home to be able to grieve her father.
On Friday, area law enforcement is hosting a program at Soldiers Field Memorial to remember local law enforcement officers who have died in the line of duty. At the event, they will reveal the sign marking the future site of the law enforcement memorial for fallen Southeast Minnesota peace officers.
"It's very important to me. So important. If as monument was here, we could go more often and I could see my dad's name... I like to be close to my dad and I like to see stuff with his name on it," explains Trumpold.
Friday's event at 5:30 PM is open to the public. Olmsted County Sheriff Kevin Torgerson says, "We get asked quite often, 'how can I show appreciation to our law enforcement folks?' Just coming and being in attendance is one great way."
- A fallen Olmsted County deputy's daughter remembers her father on National Peace Officer Memorial Day
- May 15th marks 'Peace Officers Memorial Day'
- Slain officer remembered as passionate officer, husband and father
- Honoring our fallen officers
- Rollover accident in Olmsted County
- Man wanted in Olmsted County
- Olmsted County fugitive finally caught
- Father reveals disturbing details in daughter's murder
- Daughter defends father's actions in fatal fire
- Father and daughter reconnect after 50 years