Shame On The Wall


Shame On The Wall

CREATED Mar 26, 2013

I swear I don't understand the decision to not immediately include the name of Wauwatosa Police Officer Jennifer Sebena on the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial.

Officer Sebena was murdered last Christmas Eve while on duty.  The killer is allegedly Officer Sebena's husband, Benjamin.  According to authorities, Benjamin Sebena stalked his wife for several days and ultimately shot her outside the Wauwatosa Fire Department.

The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial bears the names of over 19,000 law enforcement officers who have lost their lives "in the line of duty".  Organizers have thus far declined to include Officer Sebena's name on the wall because she was killed as a result of an act of domestic violence.  Apparently, some are making a distinction between being killed while "on duty" versus being killed "in the line of duty".

Frankly, I find this to be an absurd example of hair-splitting.

Would you exclude a soldier who died in a car crash in Saigon from the Viet Nam Veteran's Wall?  Of course not.

What makes the decision to not immediately add Officer Sebena's name to the Wall even more odd is the fact that other similarly situated officers have had their names included (with no objection).  Why should she be treated any differently?

When an officer is killed while on duty, I think their name should automatically be included on the Wall.  Trying to discern the motive of the killer and use that as the criteria strikes me as a fool's errand.

I understand that the circumstances of Officer Sebena's death were somewhat different from a death caused in a shoot out during a bank robbery.  Still, she was ambushed while on duty by a perpetrator who was able to locate her because she was on the job.

Beyond this, what's the harm of including Officer Sebena's name on the Wall? I think it's a real stretch to suggest that adding her name would in any way depreciate the sacrifice of the other heroes whose names are memorialized on the monument.  

Officials at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund originally said that they'd wait until 2014 to make a final decision on whether to add Officer Sebena's name.  By doing so, they guaranteed that they'd be embroiled in controversy for another twelve months. As a result, they are apparently having a special meeting on April 3rd to reconsider the matter.


Here's my unsolicited advice to the organizers. 

Make it easy on yourselves.   Do the popular thing and the right thing.  Add Officer Sebena's name - and do it right away.