Dozens of people came together Friday for the Law Enforcement Officer's Memorial Ceremony at the Clarksville Police Department.
“We are here to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice while serving and protecting our communities, here and abroad, and also to honor their families,” CPD Deputy Chief Rick Stalder said.
The community had gathered for National Law Enforcement Memorial Day, which served as the kick-off to National Police Week this week.
”To Chief David Crockarell and to the women and men who wear the uniform of the Clarksville Police Department, thank you for the work you do every single day, Mayor Joe Pitts said.
“To the families of our fallen, who have gathered here today, you honor us with your presence. To our community, I am just so very grateful that despite the national narrative of unrest that seems to permeate every media outlet you see, our city has embraced our police officers, and we enjoy a very positive relationship.
The mayor told those gathered that it is important to remember the fallen.
“We pause to honor the memories of the six officers and one canine officer, locally, who gave the full measure of their devotion to duty when they laid down their lives during a shift,” he said.
"We look out over the horizon with hope, and we pray that we never have to add another name to that list. May God continue to bless and protect our law enforcement officers and their families, and may God bless the city of Clarksville.”
Montgomery County Sheriff John Fuson also gave thanks and then highlighted some statistics.
"Since 1791 more than 25,000 officers have died in the line of duty. Among them, our own MCSO Deputy Bubba Watson. His end of watch was Jan. 12, 2014. His family could not be here today, but we certainly honor their sacrifice and continue to hold them in our arms.”
Fuson talked about the most recent law enforcement officer deaths.
“On May 11, we lost Sheriff's Deputies in Texas and Georgia. The current number of line of duty deaths for 2022 stands at 105 brave men and women. So far this year the state of Tennessee has lost five.”
He read their names. He cited the number of deaths in the state, the numbers for this year and last.
Robert Nash, district attorney general for the 19th Judicial District, reminded the crowd that law enforcement runs towards danger so citizens can be safe from it.
“They give victims a voice, and they console a community who might think that no one cares about them," Nash said. "This is the noblest of professions."
Crockarell, a 27-year veteran cop, said he was proud of his profession. He gave thanks to the city's and county's leaders for their support.
“We honor the officers killed in the line of duty,” Crockarell said before reading their names. “Please, as a family, join us in offering these and all those officers who have made the ultimate sacrifice, a moment of silence.”
He then read the names of Clarksville Police officers who died outside the line of duty.
“I was thinking about the phrase 'honor these individuals'. It should be more than reading names from a list. We have, as a team, hopefully, passed through the most difficult season for law enforcement. These last two years will forever change the nature of what we do. Deserved or not, here we are," Crockarell said.
“What we should be vowing to each other is that we will be a semblance of what we were when we started in this profession. What we were was just good people who happened to be cops. We'll deal with the complaints. We'll fist-bump the successes, but we'll also meet the challenges and recognize the mistakes we make along the way. Let's continue to hire the right people, good people. We are fortunate to be in this patriotic community that stands behind us.
"We hear and appreciate your words of support, and we must not take that for granted.”
The ceremony concluded with a rifle salute, Taps performed by the CPD Honor Guard, and a Benediction by Rev. Dr. Modesto Martinez, Chaplain, CPD.
This article originally appeared on Clarksville Leaf-Chronicle: Remembering the fallen, honoring those who serve: National Police Week begins in Clarksville with memorial