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'We were both supposed to go home': Retired MPD Officer reflects on losing partner in line of duty

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Officer Charles Irvine Junior died in a crash last week in the line of duty, now a retired Milwaukee Police Officer who lost his partner four decades ago and is now looking to help others and their families.

Now retired, Milwaukee Police Officer Patrick Monaghan was responding to a call with his partner Michael Drager back in 1974 when they crashed.

"I said, 'Mike we got to get out through the windshield'."

Monaghan crawled through as flames were growing. The gas tank had burst but his partner went through a different window.

"A moment later as I'm looking over, I see a figure walks out of the flames, and it's my partner, it's my friend."

With third degree burns on 75% of his body, Officer Draeger died in the hospital. He was 26-years-old leaving a wife and two children behind.

"Did they hate me for not saving their father? Did I do enough?"

That survivor's guilty lingered for many years and so he decided to do something about it.

Monaghan helped start the 'Police Officer Support Team' which is an organization that still exists today and is helping people in the wake of Officer Charles Irvine's death.

Irvine and his partner Officer Matthew Schulze were pursuing a vehicle when they crashed. Their squad flipped 20 times. Officer Schulze survived.

"It's easy to blame yourself. We know the job is dangerous. We know these chases are dangerous."

In retirement, Monaghan is now part of a national organization called 'Concerns of Police Survivors.'

"Your life has forever changed but it doesn't have to destroy you." 

He's since accepted his partner's death and reached out to District Four in hopes of helping other officers and their families heal too.

"I'm living proof. I'm able to do it, maybe you can too."

Officer Irvine's funeral will be held Saturday.

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