'She had a thirst for life:' Racine Police Department mourns loss of officer who died following Hwy 20 crash

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RACINE COUNTY, Wis. (CBS 58) -- The Racine Police Department is now remembering Officer Jennifer Diener after she passed away after a crash. She was 48 years old, and had been with the department since 1995. 

"Jennifer was truly the face of the department," said Sgt. Chad Melby, Racine Police Department. 

Officer Diener was day shift officer and during her time with the department she also served on the crisis intervention team, the recruitment team, and as an evidence technician. 

She was also a wife, mother, and daughter. 

"Jennifer was my best friend," her mother, Jean Jacobson said. 

February 9th Officer Diener was off duty, on her way back from picking up her dog at her mother’s house after a family vacation, when she was in a crash on Highway 20 in Racine County. She was with her husband and daughter who both survived.

“I went to the crash site,” Jacobson said. “It was horrific.”

Officer Diener passed away from her injuries on February 15.

Some of her organs will be donated.

"She is going to help so many people," Jacobson said. "That was great comfort to us."

Jacobson said she’ll cherish the memories of traveling and spending time together with her daughter and granddaughter the most.

“I’m so proud of her and I want everyone in the community to know that not only as an officer, but as a mother, wife, and daughter she fills our heart with wonderful memories," said Jacobson.

The loss weighs heavy on not only Officer Diener’s family, but the entire Racine Police Department who is now coping with loss of two officers in one year. Officer John Hetland was shot and killed during an armed robbery in June.

Jacobson said at one point Officer Diener and Officer Hetland were partners.

“I know personally for me these are hard to make sense,” Sgt. Melby said. “It just leaves a hole and it doesn’t necessarily get filled. You just try to remember and honor them and out of respect for them do the best you can moving forward.”

Officer Diener will be laid to rest March 2.

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