Officers unveil memorial

Photo by Laura Williams

Photo by Laura Williams

ALBANY, Ga. -- Members of the local law enforcement community unveiled a memorial to their fallen colleagues Thursday morning at the Albany-Dougherty Judicial Building.

"We wanted to put up a memorial to those who serve and protect and gave the ultimate sacrifice," said retired Dougherty County Sheriff Jamil Saba. "We wanted it to be where the people could see it and know that we still miss them as part of our family."

Saba said the memorial had been in the planning and financing stages for several years to honor fallen heroes and their families.

Members of the law enforcement family turned out for the dedication from every city, county, state and federal organization dedicated to preserving the law for the community.

While the upper level officers such as Dougherty County Sheriff Kevin Sproul, Albany Police Chief John Proctor and Dougherty County Police Chief Don Cheek spoke at the dedication, an Albany Police corporal stood at the edge of the crowd.

"I really appreciate the dedication to the fallen and non-fallen officers who serve the community," Cpl. Shawn Bell said. "Maybe when people walk by and see the memorial they'll have an appreciation of what we have to do."

According to the website: odmp.org, Officer Down Memorial Page, nine officers have died in the line of duty in Dougherty County since 1905, six by gunfire.

Dougherty County Police suffered the most recent loss with the shooting death of Lt. Clifford Rouse. Rouse was killed while attempting to arrest a man for robbing a convenience store on December 23.

"When I think of December 23, 2010 I pray to God it will never happen again. They (fallen officers) didn't make it home," said Cheek. "There but for the grace of God it could be us."

Inscribed on black marble an officer kneels on one knee in memory of his fallen colleagues. Many at the dedication said they hoped people entering the building would take a moment to look at the memorial and think about the sacrifices their law enforcement colleagues are called upon to make.