WASHINGTON, D.C. (WITI) -- Two fallen Wisconsin law enforcement officials will be honored in Washington, D.C. on Monday, as their names are added to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial. Slain Wauwatosa Police Officer Jennifer Sebena, and fallen Milwaukee County Sheriff's Deputy Sergio Aleman will be honored at the ceremony.
The Wisconsin Professional Police Association announced on April 3rd that Officer Sebena's name WOULD be added to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in 2013. This is a reversal of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund Board's initial decision NOT to include Sebena's name on the memorial.
Officer Sebena was shot to death while on duty in the early morning hours of Christmas Eve. Her husband, Benjamin Sebena, has been charged with her death.
The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund Board first said they would NOT include Officer Sebena's name on the memorial, citing the fact that she was gunned down in an incident of domestic violence -- which led to outrage. Then, the Board said it would reconsider whether to add Sebena's name to the memorial in 2014. Later, the Board announced it would reconsider its decision on April 3rd.
"It was sort of for us, unbelievable that they disqualified her for being murdered by her husband," Carmen Pitre with the Sojourner Family Peace Center -- a domestic violence advocacy organization said.
Many reached out to the Board in support of adding Officer Sebena's name to the memorial -- including the Wisconsin Professional Police Association, Gov. Scott Walker, Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen, the Sojourner Family Peace Center and thousands of citizens. A petition on change.org gather thousands of supporters in an effort to add Officer Sebena to the memorial. The Wisconsin Professional Police Association even wrote a letter to President Obama.
"Now she's going to be recognized on that memorial and it's a very good day," Brian Dorow, a former instructor of Sebena's at WCTC said.
Palmer with the WPPA led the fight for Officer Sebena, and was one of the 15 votes in favor of reversing the National Board's original decision.
"It`s clear there was an information gap in terms of what they were aware of in terms of precedential cases," Palmer said.
"It allows us to remember her for the good work that she did. It's a good message to send to survivors that your life matters -- regardless of what happens to you. Her memory deserves to be honored for what she contributed -- not for how she died," Pitre said.
Aleman lost his life in a July crash on southbound Interstate 43 near downtown Milwaukee. His service vehicle rear-ended a flatbed tow truck — and Aleman later died of his injuries.
A group from Wisconsin rode bicycles from New Jersey to Washington, D.C. to take part in Monday's ceremony honoring Sebena and Aleman -- pulling a trailer bearing their names.