Law enforcement remember their own
Law enforcement officers took a moment out of their busy day Monday to remember fellow officers who have fallen in the line of duty. The event was the 8th annual “Police Officers’ Memorial Service.”
Montgomery County Sheriff Tommy Whitt said it’s important to remember those that have fallen and made that ultimate sacrifice and to draw back on their names to gain strength. He reminded the overflow crowd at the county’s administration building that attacks on law enforcement officers have continued to escalate every year.
“Please stop when you see law enforcement officers at a traffic stop and what knowledge an officer has at that time. There’s a possibility he or she may not go home to their loved ones. They mentally and physically have to think about that every day,” Whitt said.
On average, one law enforcement officer is killed in the line of duty somewhere in the United States every 53 hours. Since the first known line-of-duty death in 1791, more than 19,000 U.S. law enforcement officers have made the ultimate sacrifice.
In 2011, 166 law enforcement officers were killed in the line of duty nation-wide. To date this year, 34 officers have died including Virginia Tech police officer Deriek Crouse.
There are more than 900,000 sworn law enforcement officers now serving in the United States, which is the highest figure ever. About 12 percent of those are female.
39-year-old Deriek W. Crouse was an Army veteran who had been with the Virginia Tech Police Department since 2007 and was a member of the department’s emergency response team since 2011.
The motive of the December shooting is still not known. Crouse had stopped a female student on a traffic violation when the suspect walked up to the officer and shot him. The shooter would later kill himself.
Crouse was married and had five children and step children. His widow attended Monday’s ceremony surrounded by other Tech officers and their families.
Radford Police Chief Donnie Goodman was the guest speaker and pointed out law enforcement officers are a tight-knit community. He said everyone needs to stop and pause our busy lives to remember those nationally, state and locally that have fallen. “We express our gratitude to their families for their sacrifice, There are wreaths laid, colors presented and mourning ribbons across badges to insure our fallen are not forgotten,” he said.
Goodman reminded the crowd that those officers lived and died with honor, bravery and valor. “They chose the profession knowing they could have another one for more money, less hours and less dangers. They put it on the line every day, never knowing in advance how this will turn out,” he concluded.
Monday’s New River Valley event was held in conjunction with National Police Officer Memorial Week, May 13-19. In 1962, President John F. Kennedy designated May 15 as National Peace Officers Memorial Day, and the calendar week in which May 15 falls as National Police Week.
A committee has been established to construct a “Public Safety Monument” in the front area of the existing county courthouse which will become the Montgomery County Public Safety Building once the new courthouse is completed. The monument will be a three-sided granite memorial to those individuals who have given the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty.
One side would represent each of the three entities: fire, rescue and police.
Tax deductible donations are being accepted. Make checks payable to: The Community Foundation of the New River Valley, P.O. Box 6009, Christiansburg, VA 24068. Place in the memo line: The Montgomery County Public Safety Monument Fund.