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Two weeks ago, retired Coeur d’Alene Police Officer Mike Kralicek lost his best friend, killed in the line of duty while serving in Oregon. “Then we got the call in the morning, when Greg was shot,” he said – Coeur d’Alene Police Sgt. Greg Moore, a friend and fellow officer who was fatally shot while patrolling a quiet Coeur d’Alene neighborhood. Kralicek prayed. “I wanted him to live, but I didn’t want him to suffer,” he said.
He knows suffering. Ten and a half years ago, he was shot by a fleeing suspect, and survived grievous injuries that left him permanently disabled. Kralicek was the keynote speaker for the annual Idaho Peace Officers Memorial ceremony today, which was even more solemn than usual, coming on the heels of Moore’s death. Seventy names are engraved on a wall of honor at the state memorial, commemorating fallen Idaho officers; next year, the name of Moore, who was remembered with a special tribute at the ceremony, will be among them.
“After I was shot, I immediately went unconscious, went into a coma for about three weeks,” Kralicek told a crowd of several hundred at the memorial, including uniformed officers from around the state and their families. “I woke up later in the hospital as a full quadriplegic. So I spent the last 10 years learning how to walk, talk, breathe, everything, all over again. Also learning how to let other people take care of me and help me, and not taking care of other people, which is what all the people on that wall were doing when they passed – they were taking care of other people. That’s what we do.”
He said, “No one knows exactly how or why I am still here today, rather than being a permanent name on that wall with all the others. … For about six months, I was on and off – I died several times. Eventually I landed on this side of the fence.”
“I believe it’s for times like today, when I can stand up in front of a group of people, be a voice for the departed and speak for the people that no longer can,” he said. He urged people to remember the families and survivors of fallen officers and the burden they carry forever after. You can read my full story here at spokesman.com.
Idaho’s annual peace officers memorial ceremony will be especially solemn today, after the death last week of Coeur d’Alene Police Sgt. Greg Moore. The ceremony begins at 10 a.m. at the Idaho State Police headquarters in Meridian, 700 S. Stratford Drive. Officers from law enforcement agencies all over Idaho will attend, and retired Coeur d’Alene Police officer Mike Kralicek will be the keynote speaker; Kralicek is the last Coeur d’Alene officer shot in the line of duty, when a fleeing suspect shot him in the face three days after Christmas in 2004. Kralicek suffered serious brain, facial and spinal cord injuries and three weeks in a coma before long months of rehabilitation and physical therapy; he was left with permanent disabilities.
The public is invited to this morning’s ceremony; people are asked to arrive no later than 9:30 a.m. It will include a formal procession of officers, with honor guards from all over the state to open the ceremony. The Borah High School Men’s Varsity Choir and Orchestra will perform, and an officer will place a flower on the memorial as the name of each of Idaho’s fallen officers, including Moore, is read aloud.
Idaho’s peace officer memorial now has the names of 70 officers who’ve died in the line of duty over the state’s history, including three from 1913, 1914 and 1921 whose names were added this year. Moore’s name will be added to the memorial during the 2016 ceremony.
I didn't realize another anniversary of the near-fatal shooting of former Coeur d'Alene police officer Mike Kralicek had almost passed until I read this Facebook post from Mike's wife, Carrie, last night: "It has been 7 years today since K57 was "down". Our lives changed for what "appeared" to be the worst. Things are not always as they appear to be and what appears to be is not always what it seems. We have found peace and joy through the suffering, and an understanding you cannot have one without the other. I love you K57 you are more than a number. I love the new Mike and what you can do for others through honestly and openly speaking to agencies about officer involved shootings, overcoming adversity, and disability etc. You are still a HERO and one of a kind." (2006 SR file photo: Mike Kralicek and then state senator Mike Jorgenson)
Question: Any shoutouts for Mike, Carrie, & their family?
Via Facebook, Mary Marano post this reminder: “Let’s remember together. The police and firefighters will place a wreath at the Fallen Heroes Memorial in back of the 15th Street Fire Station at 1:00 on September 11 in Coeur d’Alene, ID. Join me and others to join hands, support, unify and remember these brave souls and their families.” I spent 15 minutes or so at the memorial last Saturday, reading the names of the fallen Idaho police officers and firefighters, including some who were familiar, such as Linda Huff (pictured), the Idaho State trooper who was gunned down by Scott Yager, outside the regional ISP HQ in Hayden, June 17, 1998. And USFS officer Brent Jacobson who was gunned down during a January 1989 snow storm in Bonner County, trying to catch two robbery suspects. But for the grace of God, former Coeur d’Alene police officer Mike Kralicek’s name would be on the plaque’s, too. If you haven’t visited the memorial behind the 15th Street fire station, take time to do so. It’s hallowed ground.
Question: Have you visited the Fallen Heroes Memorial?
A Coeur d’ Alene police officer seriously injured in the line of duty six years ago gets a brand new bike to help with his rehabilitation. 40-year old Mike Kralicek was shot in the head while responding to a call for back up in 2004. At first doctors believed Kralicek would be in a vegetative state for the rest of his life. However over the years Kralicek has proved doctors wrong going from a quadriplegic to walking. On Wednesday Kralicek received a brand new Recumbent Trike. The trike will give Kralicek the freedom to bike and strengthen his legs. … “Still striving for more independence, trying to show other people that there’s a hope there’s still a way,” Kralicek said/Annie Bishop, KXLY. More here.
Question: Are you inspired by Mike Kralicek will to regain his freedom?