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‘Wonderful cause:’ MPD raises money to update Memorial Wall honoring fallen officers

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MILWAUKEE -- Gone but not forgotten. There will soon be a new way to remember the Milwaukee police officer who made the ultimate sacrifice protecting our community.

Steven Basting

"We're going to make more room. And I hope we never use it," said Steven Basting, President of the Milwaukee Police Historical Society.

The Memorial Wall at the Police Academy is coming down to make way for an upgrade. In its current form, the wall is no longer big enough to hold the photos and plaques of all 65 fallen officers.

Basting said it also does not tell each officer's whole story.

Existing Memorial Wall removed from Milwaukee Police Training Academy

"The whole new component of this -- you'll be able to, through the internet or here through a kiosk, access their stories," Basting said.

Videos will be recorded for each officer, making the memorial interactive and showcasing how the officers lived their lives. Finding information going back to 1884, when the department's first line-of-duty death occurred, will rely on newspaper clippings -- and hopefully comments form surviving descendants.

"I've been on 23 years. This wall has been here 23 years without a change," said Nicole Waldner, Captain of the Police Academy.

That ended last summer when MPD suffered three on-duty deaths in less than a year.

Shawn Lauda

"These officers sacrificed their lives for us -- for our community itself," said Shawn Lauda, President of the Milwaukee Police Association.

Fundraisers are helping to generate $100,000 for the new memorial wall. So far, organizers are halfway there. But there is still a lot of work to be done until this tribute can stand for generations to come.

"If you can give anything, please donate. It's a wonderful cause," Lauda said.

The new memorial should start to go up by the end of this year. CLICK HERE if you would like to donate to the cause -- or learn more about the project.

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