News | May 16, 2016

Ceremony honors police officers, marks start of National Police Week

By Kimberly Fritz DLA Aviation Public Affairs

Defense Logistics Agency Installation Support at Richmond’s Police Department observed Peace Officers' Memorial Day in a poignant ceremony in the Lotts Conference Center on Defense Supply Center Richmond, Virginia, May 12.

DSCR Police Chief Chad Tearne thanked the people gathered to show their respect for the men and women who have died in the line of duty nationwide.

“A police officer wakes up every morning and dons his uniform knowing that each day may be their last,” said Tearne. “Today is about remembering officers that have made the sacrifice that is sometimes required by the job.”

So far this year, two Virginia officers have lost their lives serving their communities: Prince William County Officer Ashley Guindon, on her first day of patrol;  and State Trooper Chad Dermyer, while he and other officers were participating in a training course and were conducting stops of suspects inside a bus terminal.

Troy Covington, guest speaker and former DSCR police chief, said those officers don’t get a second chance.

“The officers we speak of weren’t wounded and they don’t get a do-over,” Covington said. “They don’t get to hold their loved ones and say ‘I love you’ one more time.”

Covington, now the Norfolk State University police chief, said police officers give their lives for a cause they believe in – the communities they serve.

“Their cause is you and me,” he said. “They believed so strongly in making a difference in people’s lives, that day in and day out, they risked their own. They are the first line of defense.”

The 32-year law enforcement veteran challenged the audience, asking how well they knew the men and women that stood between them and harm every day.

“Do you know those that serve you?” Covington asked. “I mean really know them. We are just like you.”

He also wondered why when one officer does wrong, all officers are blamed.

“Is that fair?” he asked. “Is it fair to say all procurement personnel are the same or all service members are the same? How about firefighters? I say to you today, do not judge all by the actions of one or a few.”

Covington urged the audience and participants to remember these officers, but to celebrate their lives as well.  He also encouraged them to not be afraid to live, laugh and love because tomorrow is not a promise for anyone.

“Find whatever you love and do it well,” he said.

The ceremony included a table of honor, a poem reading, the Law Enforcement Prayer, and Virginia State Trooper Gavin Scott playing “Amazing Grace” on the bagpipe.

The nationwide statics for fallen officers in 2015 are 128 officers killed, 39 by gunfire, 27 by automobile accidents, and 17 from heart attacks. The Officer Down Memorial Page, an independent website, estimates that officer deaths are down 17 percent this year although deaths by gunfire are up.

Since 1962 the day set-aside to honor fallen officers has been observed May 15 in conjunction with National Police Week. Each year since 1982, thousands of police officers converge on Washington, D.C., to participate in planned events honoring those that made the ultimate sacrifice while serving their communities. National Police Week 2016 began May 15 and concludes May 21.

For more information about events open to the public, visit www.policeweek.org.