Police officers from around the area will gather together to remember their fellow officers who lost their lives in the line of duty during a memorial service Friday at the flagpoles in front of the Red Oak Police and Fire building, 540 N. Methodist St.
“We are going to start right at 9 a.m. and will be through at 9:45 a.m. It has been a very successful event when Waxahachie did it down on the square at the wall of honor. It has been very well attended,” Red Oak community relations officer Nathan Bickerstaff said.
“This week is National Law Enforcement Week to honor law enforcement across our nation. The names of the officers who lost their lives in the line of duty in 2010 will be added to the Washington, D.C., memorial. While we can’t be in Washington we can be here and acknowledge that.”
Deputy Bruce Stayments will give the opening prayer and Red Oak Police Chief Craig Rudolph and Sheriff Johnny Brown will provide opening remarks.
The Waxahachie Fire Department is supplying the bell that will be rung each time an officer’s name is read aloud. The roll call will be read by Milford Police Chief Carlos Phoenix and Department of Public Safety Sgt. Ephram Herring.
“A lot of people don’t know we do this here and this is only the fifth year that we have done it countywide. This a big deal in Washington every year where they call all of the names of the officers that have died the year before,” Waxahachie community relations officer Wess Winn said. “While we can’t do that we try to show our own respects for those who have passed away here in Texas and then the ones who have passed away here in Ellis County. It is important to remember those that are out there serving.”
The Dallas Police Department honor guard will do a 21-gun salute and “Taps” will be performed by Cpl. Mark Lang. Officer James Babb with the Plano Police Department will play the bagpipes and members of the Red Oak and Waxahachie fire departments will lower the flags to half-staff. Officers with DeSoto will place a wreath next to the flagpole followed by a flyover by the Air One unit from the Dallas Police Department. Dr. Gleyn Hall, senior pilot for Ellis County Sheriff’s Office, will do the closing prayer.
According to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, National Police Week recognizes the service and sacrifice of U.S. law enforcement. Established by a joint resolution of Congress in 1962, National Police Week pays special recognition to those law enforcement officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty for the safety and protection of others. Each year’s memorial week happens during the week that May 15 falls in.
This year, the names of 316 officers killed in the line of duty are being added to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C. These 316 officers include 152 officers who were killed during 2010, plus 164 officers who died in previous years.
In the event of rain, the local ceremony will be moved inside to the city’s courtroom. Organizing Friday’s event are officers from the Red Oak Police Department, Waxahachie Police Department and the Ellis County Sheriff’s Office.
The public is invited to attend.
Bickerstaff said any family members attending Friday’s ceremony who have lost an officer listed in the program can contact him prior to the ceremony so they can be honored and recognized.
Bickerstaff can be reached at the police department at 972-617-7632.
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