Rep. Vos to Honor Officer John Hetland as First Responder of the Year

October 8, 2019 

State Representative Robin Vos has named the late Racine Police Officer John Hetland as the First Responder of the Year for the 63rd Assembly District. The award, which will be given to his family, is part of a new recognition program for the Wisconsin State Assembly. Representatives each chose a recipient for their Assembly District, many of whom will be present for the award ceremony during the Assembly floor session on Thursday, October 10. Officer Hetland’s family is unable to attend the ceremony but will be given the award at a later time. While off duty from the Racine Police Department, Officer Hetland tried to stop an armed robbery and was fatally injured in the process.

“Officer Hetland is a hero who lost his life protecting others,” Rep. Vos said. “Despite being off duty when an armed robbery began, his dedication to duty prompted him to step in to try and thwart a crime.”

Officer Hetland was a 24-year veteran of the Racine Police Department where he held several roles including serving as a field training officer and a member of the Greater Racine FBI Gang Task Force. He was Vice President of the Racine Police Association, a member of the Wisconsin Professional Police Association, and was a highly respected and loved member of the law enforcement community. His end of watch came on June 17, 2019.

“I hope his children and parents will take some comfort knowing that John is a hero,” Rep, Vos said. “He ran toward danger to help people in need; we all are grateful for his service.”

At the beginning of the first responder presentation, Speaker Vos has asked Anthony Ballastari, Chaplain at the Racine County Jail, to give a special prayer for the First Responders of the Year and all first responders around the state. Thursday’s ceremony for the first responders begins at 1 p.m. and can be viewed online at