Law officers honor fallen

Photo by Avan Clark

Photo by Avan Clark

ALBANY, Ga. -- With black tape on badges and respect in their bearing, the law enforcement community found its voice to mourn on Thursday

Nine Albany and Dougherty County area officers lost their lives in the line of duty since 1920. Dozens of family members, friends, government officials, fellow officers and others turned out to honor the fallen at 11 a.m. at the Veterans Memorial Amphitheater.

Nellie Kimbro lost her son, Albany Police Department Ptl. Randy Brown, to a gun shot on June 10, 1979. He was 28 years old.

"I've come to these since they started. I don't know how many years ago," Kimbro said. "They've grown and more people come. It makes me proud that they think enough of the officers and my son to show up to honor them."

The memorial services involving multiple law enforcement agencies in the annual Law Enforcement Memorial Service were part of National Police Week. The day's services included prayers, speeches by command officers, presentation of the colors, the national anthem, the pledge of allegiance, a lone trumpeter playing taps and the roll call of the departed.

During the placement of wreaths, family members, including Kimbro, placed white carnations in wreaths in memory of their loved ones.

Dougherty County Police Department Cpl. Thomas Stewart Williamson placed a carnation for his father, Sheriff's Office Capt. Thomas Mitchell Williamson, who died Nov. 16, 1988. Williamson, who was 3 years old when his father died, has continued a family tradition of law enforcement.

"This is a great honor for our family," said Rebecca Crawford, the elder Williamson's widow, an investigator with the Sherriff's Office. "I'm proud of the service we all give in our lives."

Quoting from a poem in the memorial program, the speaker Moultrie Police Department Chief Frank Lang said, "Yes, somebody killed a policeman today, maybe in your town or mine. While we slept behind our locked doors, a cop put his life on the line."

According to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund's website, nleomf.com, on average one law enforcement officer is killed in the line of duty every 53 hours. Since the first recorded line-of-duty death in 1792, almost 19,000 officers have made the ultimate sacrifice to preserve and protect their communities.

Ceremonies were held in communities to honor those who died since President John F. Kennedy and a joint resolution of Congress established National Police Week in 1962.