Monday, May 20, 2013

Honoring Those Who Sacrificed So Much

This week marks our 27th Annual Memorial Breakfast, sponsored by the St. Louis Police Foundation, where we will remember those, and their families, who have made the ultimate sacrifice. The Memorial Breakfast honors the 164 St. Louis Police Officers killed in the line of duty from 1863 to 2011. This event occurs on the heels of National Police Week, a time when people all over the country pay tribute and remember the men and women in law enforcement who were killed in the line of duty. What an ultimate sacrifice to pay in service to others. 

In 1962, President John F. Kennedy recognized the countless and selfless acts peace officers perform daily, by signing a proclamation designating May 15th as Peace Officers Memorial Day. Every year, that date coincides with National Police Week held in Washington D.C. Where a series of events are held in remembrance of officers killed in the line of duty.  The event attracts thousands of law enforcement officers and survivor families, from near and far, and is a moving tribute.

Names like Strehl, Meriwether, Stanze, Barwick, Branson, Sloan, Jerabek, Brown, Kowalski, Moore, Haynes and Hall will never be forgotten…and these are only the ones who lost their lives since I have been an officer. These fallen officers made the ultimate sacrifice for our city, and their sacrifices should be a constant reminder to citizens how truly important this job is. Each day an officer leaves his or her home and family to protect and serve the citizens of St. Louis, they risk their lives for the safety and well-being of fellow citizens, most of whom they will never meet. This exemplifies a true hero.

As Chief of Police, the emotion is something I did not anticipate being so strong, and bearing a heavy heart, I remember all 164 St. Louis police officers, who are my brothers, and who made the ultimate sacrifice. I am eternally grateful for their selflessness and courageous service.


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