County to host law enforcement appreciation event Friday
County law enforcement officials are encouraging the public to help celebrate National Police Week by attending a ceremony in front of the Justice Center in Sparta this Friday, May 17.
The event begins at noon and will end before 1 p.m. The scheduled guest speaker is former Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel. The Sparta Police Honor Guard will present the colors.
Monroe County Sheriff Wes Revels said the nationwide observance began in 1962, under President John F. Kennedy as National Police Appreciation Day, which took place on May 15.
It then expanded into National Police Week and is always held the week that includes May 15. This year it runs from May 12-18. However, the celebration in Madison was last Friday. The observance in Washington D.C. kicked off this past weekend.
The reason for the week is to honor police officers who died in the line of duty. Monroe County Police Chaplain Jef Skinner, pastor of Gospel Baptist Church in Sparta, is one the organizers of the event. He said while no officers employed in Monroe County have ever died in the line of duty, there are a three that have connections to the area, all of whom were state troopers that lost their lives in traffic accidents.
The most recent was Wisconsin State Trooper Anthony Borostowski, who was on duty when he lost control of his cruiser, travelled off the interstate and hit a tree on I 90/94 in Sauk County near Wisconsin Dells on April 11, 2017. The 34-year old trooper lived in Tomah but his funeral was held in Sparta, where his parents, Stan and Cindy Borostowski, still reside.
More than 1,400 officers from at least a dozen different states from as far away as California attended the funeral and between 650 and 700 squad cars formed the hour-long procession that wound its way through Sparta following the ceremony at Sparta High School.
The other two troopers were Debra McMenamin, who died near Eau Claire but is buried in Tomah, and Gary Powless, who was from Eau Claire but died in an accident on Interstate 94 near Tomah.
Bangor will host a Law Enforcement Memorial Day Ceremony in the Bangor Village Park on May 15 at 10 a.m.
The ceremony will begin with a welcome from Bangor Police Chief Scott K. Alo. The La Crosse County Honor Guard will post the colors, followed by Boy Scout Troop #46 leading the Pledge of Allegiance.
Chaplin Diana McGrath will deliver the invocation and Rick Kyte of Viterbo University will be guest speaker. Chaplin Frank O’Laughlin will give the benediction and a rifle volley will be conducted by members of the La Crosse Police Department.
Taps will be sounded by Bangor High School student Adam Streeton, followed by John Elliott on the bag pipes.
The La Crosse Sheriff’s Office and La Crosse Police Department comprise the honor guard.