Fallen officers honored at Police

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 17, 2001

Memorial Day at Bicentennial Park


Staff Writer

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Those who pledge to protect and serve sometimes die doing their duty.

Each time a law enforcement pins on his badge the thought of losing his life is always at the back of his mind.

For most it’s only the fear that exists; for others the danger becomes an actuality.

Seven men in uniform have lost their lives and their names are engraved on a marble monument at Bicentennial Park.

Yesterday, officers gathered at the park to remember those seven, two Troy State University graduates who worked for police departments and officers everywhere who died protecting the public they were sworn to serve.

The police memorial monument in Troy bears the names of Troy Police Department officers Will G. Jackson, Hayden Youngblood, Cecil Sullivan, Billy Dease, Steve Watkins, Alabama Game Warden Grady Russell Jackson and R.W. "Bob" Jones, who was an Alabama State Trooper.

TSU graduates Willie Henry Pryor, who was killed in January 1995 while on duty for the Montgomery Police Department, and Gary Wayne Heath, who died in June 1994 while working for the Greenville Police Department, were also remembered.

As the haunting notes of "Taps" were played by TPD Officer Michael O’Hara. Scott Watkins placed a wreath at the commemorative marker. Watkins if the nephew of Steve Watkins, a Troy Police officer who was shot and died on Thanksgiving Day, 1981.

Prior to their names being read as part of the ceremony, Troy Mayor Jimmy Lunsford, who signed a proclamation declaring this Police Week in Troy, addressed the importance of remembering those men.

"This ceremony means so much to us," Lunsford said. "It would be a lot different for us if we knew we had to put our lives on the line for our community.

"These men put their lives on the line every day so we can be safe," the mayor said of those officers standing nearby.

He called police officers "guardians of life and property" and expressed his appreciation to those men and women who enter the dangerous career of law enforcement.

Troy State University Police Chief Rod Anderson offered thanks to God for "watching over us as we work day by day" and asked for Him "to keep your hands upon these officers" who serve this community.