Teaching through tragedy - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Teaching through tragedy: A hero behind the badge


Neillsville (WQOW) - A high school gym becomes a classroom for law enforcement officers Tuesday. 

They heard from one of their own about a tragic night two years ago.

That's when a Fond du Lac police officer was killed in a standoff.  Another officer was wounded and left in critical condition.  He has now recovered and shares his story to heal and help.

"We lost an officer in the line of duty and we had to make sure that him dying wasn't, we had to make it was worth something.  I think what it's going to be worth is that we're going to save other officers' lives in the future," says Fond du Lac Patrol Officer Ryan Williams.

Williams survived that day two years ago and now shares his story to educate other officers.

"Even though I got shot twice and it penetrated through both, my normal vest and this vest, I still survived because of this extra vest," says Williams.

The Clark County Sheriff's Department organized this event for several agencies in Western Wisconsin.

"Bring such a special presentation to our area and our law enforcement agencies and learn from this," says Clark County Chief Deputy Jim Backus.

But the presentation also serves as an aid for officer Williams to move on from the tragic memory.

"These presentations are an outlet for me.  I actually call them my therapy because I get out there and I talk about it.  If I wasn't on this stage or going around talking on this, I probably wouldn't talk about it as much as I do," says Williams.

Because dangerous situations can arise anywhere and studying this scenario may save a life one day.

"This is Wisconsin.  It happens in Wisconsin.  Not all calls are routine calls and we all do need to be safe and take everything that we do very seriously," says Backus.

Since there's much more to wearing the badge than most consider.

"We're thinking about safety 100% of the time.  That's kind of why cops act the way we do on certain situations.  Because we want to be safe, we want to go home safe, we want our fellow officers to be safe and we want our communities to be safe," says Williams.

Officer Williams' story is also part of a documentary called "Heroes Behind the Badge."  The film features stories of men and women across the country who were caught in the line of fire and survived and those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

The documentary will be shown in Eau Claire on Tuesday night, May 14th at Micon Cinemas.

Tickets are $10 in advance and you can learn more here.

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