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Wauwatosa (WI) Police Officer Jennifer Sebena to be Added to National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial

April 3, 2013

Washington, DC—The Board of Directors of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund (NLEOMF) met today and unanimously voted to include the name of Wauwatosa (WI) Police Officer Jennifer L. Sebena on the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, DC.

Officer Sebena was on duty when she was ambushed, shot and killed in a police substation parking lot during the early morning hours of December 24, 2012.  The man arrested and charged with her murder was Benjamin Sebena, Jennifer’s spouse.  Officer Sebena’s name will be inscribed on the monument later this month and officially dedicated at the Memorial’s annual Candlelight Vigil on May 13.

Based on the information available to them at the time, the NLEOMF Board committee that normally reviews officer fatality cases had originally determined in February that Officer Sebena did not qualify for inclusion on the Memorial, in light of the personal circumstances relating to her death.  However, as is sometimes the case in considering its committee’s determinations, the full Board of Directors felt that the unique circumstances of the case warranted further research and review.

After discussing the matter with Wauwatosa Police Chief Barry Weber, examining hundreds of pages of the criminal investigation reports and reviewing all available precedents, the NLEOMF Board (which includes all of the members of the committee that made the original determination regarding Officer Sebena) concluded that it is appropriate to add Officer Sebena’s name to the Memorial. 

The Board determined: Officer Sebena was carrying out her duties as a law enforcement officer at the time of her death; that there were case precedents involving similar circumstances where a law enforcement officer had previously been added to the Memorial; and Officer Sebena’s own department had formally declared her death “in the line of duty.”  NLEOMF criteria for inclusion on the national Memorial states, “An officer shall be included if a department states that the officer died in the line of duty and there is no information to believe otherwise.”

“Our organization has been entrusted with the sacred responsibility of determining the names to be inscribed on the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial,” observed NLEOMF Chairman and CEO, Craig W. Floyd.  “We exercise that responsibility with the utmost care and diligence.  While Officer Sebena’s case was unusual, the NLEOMF Board of Directors believes that the review of Officer Sebena’s case was in all respects prudent and that the final vote to honor Officer Sebena by adding her name to the Memorial is the right decision.”

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About the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund
Founded in 1984, the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund is a private non-profit [501(c)(3)] organization dedicated to honoring the service and sacrifice of America's law enforcement officers and to promoting officer safety. The Memorial Fund maintains the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, DC, which contains the names of 19,660 officers who have died in the line of duty throughout U.S. history. The Memorial Fund is now working to create the first-ever National Law Enforcement Museum, which will tell the story of American law enforcement through high-tech, interactive exhibits, comprehensive collection of historical and contemporary artifacts, extensive resources for research, and diverse educational programming. For more information, visit www.LawMemorial.org.

Steve Groeninger
steve@nleomf.org | 202.737.7135