Fallen heroes

Published 6:00 pm Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Troy Police Department officers salute during the National Police Memorial Day ceremony

Troy Police Department officers salute during the National Police Memorial Day ceremony

Community honors five officers killed in the line of duty

The crowd was silent as a color guard marched with the American flag and the national anthem rang through the air Wednesday morning.

Law enforcement officers, standing in perfect rows with black bands over their badges, saluted.

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National Police Memorial Day is a somber one across the nation. It’s a time to remember officers who died in the line of duty.

“To the family and friends of our fallen officers, we thank you for your sacrifice,” said Troy Mayor Jason A. Reeves. “I am so honored and humbled by the service of the men and women here and the men who gave this sacrifice.”

Troy Police Chief Jimmy Ennis read the names of five officers from the Troy Police Department who died in the line of duty – Officer Will G. Jackson, 1905; Officer Hayden Youngblood, 1962; Officer Cecil Sullivan, 1967; Officer Billy Dease, 1968; and Officer Steve Watkins, 1981.

Their names are inscribed on a memorial in front of the Troy Police Department.


Reeves said the memorial was not only to honor the fallen, but also to remind officers and the community that any day could be a day when another local officer gives his or her life in service.

“It means the world to us that you are willing to do that,” Reeves said to the officers present.

Reeves proclaimed this week National Police Memorial Week in Troy and Wednesday, National Police Memorial Day.

“We have officers here today that were not even born the last time we lost an officer,” Reeves said. “I was nine when Steve [Watkins] died and it had an effect on me then. I remember the year that he died there was a very famous police show and an actor, Michael Conrad, would say at the end of roll call, ‘Let’s be careful out there.’ This monument, when you come to work each day, that’s your ‘Let’s be careful out there.’ Let’s honor their service and I appreciate all you do.”