Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Features
Heroes Behind the Badge
by Jennifer Tomazic


FOND DU LAC -- A local story of police tragedy and heroism is featured in a new documentary.

It's called "Heroes Behind the Badge" and it tells the story of Fond du Lac Officers Craig Burkholz and Ryan Williams.

The documentary starts off with video of a a growing monument, the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial, and it focuses on the names written on it.
One of those belongs to Officer Burkholz.  He was killed during a stand off in March 2011.

In Heroes Behind the Badge, his fellow officer, Williams, recounts the day tragedy struck Fond du Lac.

"He wasn't moving and he was laying face down and that officer ended up being Craig Burkholz," said Officer Williams, who survived the shooting. He was injured and so was his K9 officer.

Their story is one of seven that are featured in the documentary.

"It's a very powerful, very moving documentary that was done as a bit of a labor of love," said executive producer Bill Urfurth.

He has lived to tell his stories of being on the Miami-Dade Police force, and he wanted to honor those who weren't able to, with this documentary.

"Reliving those stories is a difficult thing for me personally," said Urfurth.  "I sat down with teenage children whose mothers had been shot and killed in the line of duty."

Friends have been shot and killed in the line of duty as well and that's something Officer Williams has had to cope with.  A documentary crew went to Fon du Lac and had Williams show them where it all took place.

"This is the house where I was shot. At that point I couldn't breath very well and I had trouble keeping my balance," Williams said in the documentary.

He stopped by the CBS 58 Studio to talk about the documentary.  "It was good for me to relive it. Yes, sometimes it's hard to bring up those memories again, but it needs to be done because otherwise you're holding them inside," said Williams.

Documentary producers wanted to get Officer Williams story out, so that other officers could learn from his experience.

"It's something to get officers in that mind set when they're going on that call-that 'hey, this is what Officer Williams did and he survived,'" said Williams.

He credits his survival to the second bullet proof vest that he put on that day. While that is a lesson just for police officers, the average person can get a lot out of the documentary too. That's why Glendale Police Officer Eric Guse held public a screening of "Heroes Behind the Badge" in Milwaukee recently.  There was also one in Fond du Lac.

"In this documentary, you see that we go through a lot of stuff as police officers but when its all said and done we're still people," said Officer Guse.  "We come home to our families and in some cases, some don't come home to their families."

Part of the proceeds from the screening went to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial and the Shielded Hears-a group of women (wives, girlfriends) who support police officers in Milwaukee.

For more information on Heroes Behind the Badge, log onto http://www.heroesbehindthebadge.com.