Thursday’s annual Law Enforcement Memorial Service guest speaker, President of the International Chiefs of Police Walter A. McNeil, spoke of law officers’ willingness to risk their lives so that others may be safe in the community.
ALBANY, Ga. — There is a long blue line of men and women that stretches from local police stations into the nation’s communities to stand between residents and criminals.
The community and its protectors took time to honor those who have fallen in the line of duty at an annual Law Enforcement Memorial Service in front of the Government Center at 10 a.m. Thursday.
“That long blue line will never be broken,” said Walter A. McNeil, president of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, guest speaker at the ceremony. “We will never fade way and never relent in our promise to keep communities safe.”
Law enforcement officers who lost their lives in line of duty
Albany Police Department:
• Patrolman Marion C. Collins — Feb. 9, 1920
• Chief Robert S. Wallis —Jan. 24, 1928
• Patrolman Earl B. Crenshaw -June 18, 1956
• Patrolman Thomas W. Dunbar — Oct. 26, 1961
• Patrolman Randy E. Brown — June 10, 1979
• Cpl. Terry Lewis-Fleming — Oct. 28, 2011
Dougherty County Sheriff’s Office:
• Capt. Thomas Mitchell Williamson — Nov. 16, 1988
• Lt. Albert Duane Clark — Nov. 16, 1988
Dougherty County Police Department:
• Lt. Thomas Clifford Rouse — Dec. 23, 2010
Southwest Georgia Regional Airport Police:
• Chief John Ross Juneau — May 2, 2003
United States Marine Corps:
• Cpl. Dustin J. Lee — March 21, 2007
The ceremony included opening remarks by Dougherty County Sheriff Kevin Sproul, the Pledge of Allegiance led by Dougherty County Police Department Chief Don Cheek and a joint city-county proclamation.
The proclamation of Police Week by Albany Mayor Dorothy Hubbard and Dougherty County Commission Chairman Jeff “Bodine” Sinyard made reference to President John F. Kennedy proclaiming May 15 National Police Officers Memorial Day and the week in which it fell as National Police Week.
Two recent deaths in the line of duty in Albany and Dougherty County were of particular note during the ceremony.
Albany Police Cpl. Terry Lewis-Fleming died in a car crash pursuing armed robbers on Oct. 28, 2011. Dougherty County Police Lt. Clifford Rouse was fatally shot while attempting to arrest a convenience store burglar on Dec. 23, 2010.
“We never get over the loss. It is traumatic and it takes a year to start to heal,” said Jackie Rouse, Clifford Rouse’s mother. “Don’t forget our officers. Give them your respect and love. Pat them on the shoulder and pray for their safety.”
According to statistics from the FBI website fbi.gov/news, 72 law enforcement officers lost their lives in the line of duty in 2011. In the Midwest 21 were killed. In the west and Northeast 10 were killed and two were killed in Puerto Rico. In the South, 29 law officers were killed.
McNeil told of visiting Washington D.C. for the national memorial. The first name read from Georgia as inscribed in granite was Terry Lewis Fleming.
Lewis-Fleming was remembered by Albany State University Officer Yvette Miller, an honor guard at her agency’s wreath.
“I was in the academy with Terry and we stayed friends. Her death hits home,” Miller said. “It is an honor to be here to recognize her service and sacrifice for the community.”
Other wreaths representing local law enforcement agencies stood in testimony to the sacrifices made by officers. Family members followed escorts to wreaths and pinned a white carnation in memory of slain officers.