Honoring fallen officers

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 16, 2002

Features Editor

"Greater love hath no man than this: That he gives his life to save a friend."

Law enforcement officers sometimes do even more. Sometimes they give their lives to save a stranger.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

A memorial service was held at Bicentennial Park Wednesday as part of the nationwide observance of Peace Officers Memorial Day.

In 1994, the United States Congress approved a law requiring the American flag to be lowered to half-staff on May 15 as a special tribute to the law enforcement officers who died in the line of duty.

Law enforcement officers across the country called the tribute one of the highest honors the nation could bestow on anyone.

Sgt. Benny Scarbrough, Troy Police Department public information officer, said last year 228 law enforcement officers were killed in the line of duty, making it the deadliest year for the law enforcement profession since 1975.

Included in this total are 70 officers who died at the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, the most officers ever to be killed in a single incident in the history of the United States.

The flags that were lowered on Peace Officers Memorial Day recognized that those brave men and women died upholding the laws of the land and preserving public safety.

More than 700,000 men and women presently serve their fellow citizens as guardians of peace.

"And, they do so at great risk to their personal safety," Scarbrough said.

Every year, one out of every nine peace officers is assaulted. One out of every 25 peace officers is injured and one out of every 4,400 peace officers is killed in the line of duty, Scarbrough said.

The state of New Jersey recorded the most deaths among its peace officers at 41 followed by New York with 31. Texas had 20 deaths among its peace officers and California had 12.

Two peace officers will killed in Alabama last year.

Across the nation, 68 officers were shot and killed and 42 died as the result of automobile accidents.

The price of peace is high and there are many who pay the ultimate price for peace in their communities. On Wednesday, the nation paid tribute to those who have made the supreme sacrifice and honored those who protect and serve at great personal risk.