Today I received a text asking me if my husband was okay. I had no idea what they meant so my heart sank and I checked my messages. Immediately, I saw that my husband said, “I am okay bad scene.”

What then comes to my mind is what just happened? I get a call and was asked, “Hey I don’t want to put this on you but would you come down to the hospital”?

My immediate response was of course whatever you need I’m there.

I stopped what I was doing, left work and drove to Froedtert Hospital, only to be stuck in traffic due to the construction and all the squads taking over the street.

I parked and waited for Trevor to call and he walks up to the car. I get out to let him drive. He takes me to the garage where hundreds of officers are waiting and praying and crying and hugging.

I walked in to support him and I find myself hugging everyone I know. We are a family … we are a unit … we stick together.

Milwaukee police officer

Milwaukee police officers praying following the line of duty death of Matthew Rittner, February 6, 2019. (New Berlin Police Department)

As a wife of an officer and seeing what I saw is one of the most humbling experiences I’ve had.

I am not an officer; I am just married to one. Every day when he leaves for work I know his job is to come home.

I stood in that cold garage among all those officers and between the hugs and tears and the silence and sniffles. I honestly can’t put into words the experience. I just silently prayed to God for them all.

When I first showed up and found my husband, he was covered in dried blood and staying as strong as he could among all the others who were trying to hold it together.

emotional skills

(Milwaukee Police Department)

I asked him if I should be there. Is it okay for me to go in there? His response is YES; you are here for support and hugs and to listen to whoever needs to talk.

After we watched the color guard, a salute, and our fallen officer put into the hearse, we all got in our cars and squads and followed to the medical examiners for one last goodbye.

From the time we left the hospital I witnessed hundreds of people outside their vehicles salute the procession. I witnessed firemen standing on their trucks over the freeways saluting. I witnessed complete strangers salute in honor of this officer and it brought tears to my eyes; it brought heartache for the family. And as I sat next to my husband—a police officer who was drenched in his blood—I reached over to hug him and tell him I love him and support him and it’s going to be okay. But will it be okay?

Matthew Rittner

(LET Graphics)

Please pray for our fallen officer. Please pray for his family. Please pray for those who serve and protect and their families. They are just doing their job.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope” (Romans 15:13).

– Shaunta’ de Boer