Authorities on Monday identified two police officers and a man who were all killed in a shootout during a weekend traffic stop in northwestern Wisconsin.
State Justice Department officials said 32-year-old Emily Breidenbach of the Chetek Police Department and 23-year-old Hunter Scheel of the Cameron Police Department were killed after they stopped 50-year-old Glenn Douglas Perry of New Auburn on Saturday afternoon in Cameron. Perry later died at a hospital.
The officers stopped Perry to check on his welfare after police received “notification of concerning behavior” and because he was wanted on a warrant, Justice Department officials said. They did not release further details on the incident, which is still under investigation.
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According to court records, a Barron County judge issued a bench warrant for Perry on March 30. The warrant was issued after Perry failed to attend court for a hearing requested by the county child support agency as part of a divorce case. Perry also was charged twice for domestic violence related offenses in 2020.
The Cameron and Chetek police departments issued a joint statement briefly outlining the officers’ backgrounds. Briedenbach had been with her department since 2019 and handled the agency’s therapy dog, Officer Grizz. Before returning to her hometown police department, she worked for nine months as an officer with the Stoughton Police Department in Dane County. Scheel joined the Cameron department just last year, graduating from the law enforcement academy in December. He also served six years as a member of the Army National Guard.
About eight miles apart, Cameron and Chetek are small towns, Cameron with just about 1,800 residents, Chetek with 2,100. The police departments for both communities have just a handful of officers.
Barron County Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald said that the two officers and local sheriff’s deputies worked together closely. He said it wasn’t unusual that they were backing each other up during a traffic stop.
“They are very small departments, very small communities, we work together as a team, as one,” he said during a news conference Monday. “It’s really one department, they just have a different patch on their shoulder.”
Fitzgerald said the sheriff’s department and other agencies in the region were covering the communities “so their officers have time to heal together, and I think that’s very important to do.”
He said the last time an officer was killed in the line of duty in that area was in 1996 in Rice Lake in Rusk County.
Barron County District Attorney Brian Wright said the Division of Criminal Investigation with the Wisconsin Department of Justice is continuing to investigate the incident and is expected to issue a report in about 30 days.
“At which point they will be sending a report to my office, and then the district attorney’s office will be preparing a report that will be made public after my review of the investigative report,” he said.
He said that report would likely be made public in about 45 days.
“I can tell you these are two outstanding officers and they deserve nothing (less) than this report that’s going to be coming from the DA’s office being done in an expedited manner. I think that’s the least we can do for the families of these both officers and certainly for the community as a whole,” Wright said.
Gov. Tony Evers tweeted his condolences to the officers’ families on Monday afternoon. He said in his tweets that he planned to sign executive orders lowering U.S. and Wisconsin flags in their honor once funeral arrangements have been made.
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