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Ceremony recognizes fallen police officers

Police stand at attention as the colors are advanced to begin the Centre County Law Enforcement Memorial Ceremony on Wednesday, May 18, 2016, on the steps of Old Main.
Police stand at attention as the colors are advanced to begin the Centre County Law Enforcement Memorial Ceremony on Wednesday, May 18, 2016, on the steps of Old Main. adrey@centredaily.com

“They may not don capes, have extra-human powers or impenetrable suits of iron,” Centre County Judge Katie Oliver said Wednesday, “but let there be no doubt that their nobility, their strength and their courage far surpass that of any fabled character.”

Oliver was one of several figures who spoke during the Centre County Law Enforcement Memorial Ceremony Wednesday honoring National Law Enforcement Week and the 132 police officers who died in the line of duty nationally in 2015. The ceremony, held on the steps of Old Main, marked the 18th year the county has held the memorial.

The county set aside time to remember the law enforcement officers who made the supreme sacrifice, giving their lives to safeguard the communities they served, Penn State police Chief Mike Lowery said.

They must be remembered to appreciate the sacrifice they and their loved ones have made.

Penn State police Chief Mike Lowery

“They must be remembered,” he said, “to appreciate the sacrifice they and their loved ones have made. I call on each officer to uphold the oath of office, to uphold the law, uphold your department’s principles, be fair, be professional and, most of all, be the best person you can be.”

Representatives of the different enforcement agencies from across the county were in attendance, as Centre County Commissioner Steve Dershem pointed out, including representatives of State College police, Penn State police, Ferguson Township police, Centre County sheriff’s department, the state Department of Corrections and even the FBI.

Dershem especially recognized the more than 60 trainees of the county sheriff’s program, saying the ceremony featured local, state and federal enforcement agencies.

During her comments, Oliver said every 61 hours, an officer is killed in the United States, giving his or her life in the line of duty so the rest of us can live safely. This also means every 61 hours family members or loved ones are paying the price as well.

Representatives from the various agencies read aloud the 132 officers’ names, followed by a Fraternal Order of Police wreath presentation, a rendition of “Amazing Grace” by bagpiper Charles Tricou and a 21-gun salute.

District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller, who led the first reading of names, personally thanked the officers she works with, saying while the officers on the list have made the ultimate sacrifice, the officers of Centre County are willing to do so.

“Our officers put their lives on the line every day,” she said.

Jeremy Hartley: 814-231-4616, @JJHartleyNews

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