Officers killed in line of duty honored at ceremony

5/16/2013

By ANGIE HAFLICH

By ANGIE HAFLICH

ahaflich@gctelegram.com

Law enforcement and city officials gathered outside the Law Enforcement Center Wednesday morning to honor officers killed in the line of duty.

As law enforcement lined the street in front of the center, the Garden City Police Department Honor Guard raised the American flag to half staff, as a memorial to officers who have lost their lives. Neely Wasinger then sang the national anthem.

Known as Peace Officers' Memorial Day, the nationwide ceremony is held on May 15 each year as a means of paying tribute to more than 19,000 officers killed nationwide throughout the years.

"This is the 12th year we've been coming together and remembering and every year, I kind of hope that it's remembering nobody new. In all these years, I hope we can remember people from years past. Unfortunately, that's not the case this year," Finney County Sheriff Kevin Bascue said to those on hand.

He then mentioned the officers who were killed in California and Texas, as well as Topeka officers, Cpl. David Gogian and Officer Jeff Atherly, who were killed while investigating suspicious activity at a grocery store.

"Those are the folks we're here today to remember and to honor for doing their jobs and keeping our community safe and we pray for them and we pray for their families," Bascue said.

Chaplain John Elder said a special blessing over the families who have lost loved ones killed in the line of duty and over the city, county and state officers currently serving their communities.

"They've made a choice and they have answered the call to serve. Father, we ask that you would give them courage to continue in the positions that they've chosen to do, to keep us safe throughout the year," Elder said.

Neither FISO nor GCPD has ever lost officers in the line of duty. Both Bascue and GCPD Chief James Hawkins acknowledged local law enforcement officers for their service.

"I thank you for what you do for us and it's something that's very necessary because without all of you, then there is no safety in our community and all we have is chaos. I thank you very much for all of your efforts in keeping us and our families safe," Bascue said.

Hawkins asked those on hand to applaud the officers, troopers, deputies and agents.

Mayor Dan Fankhauser proclaimed the week of May 12 to May 18, 2013, as National Police Week and read a proclamation, that said, in part, "With valor and distinction, these citizens stand watch over us all and work hard to fight crime and violence. And whereas law enforcement officers deserve our appreciation for the work they do, our citizens fulfill an important civic responsibility by supporting their work to protect our communities. By working together, we can achieve a better and more secure future for our children and grandchildren. And whereas, the Peace Officers' Memorial Day and during Police Week, we honor the heroism of all of our law enforcement officers, especially those who have given their lives, so that others might live. They perform their jobs with extraordinary distinction and we will always remember their service and sacrifice."

Fankhauser also thanked local law enforcement and the fire department for their service.

"A lot of times, we don't take the time to thank our police, sheriff, fire department enough for their service to this community and I think we have one of the best departments — police, sheriff and fire departments — in the state and we thank you for what you do for us," he said.

GCPD Sgt. Michael Reagle concluded the ceremony by introducing Darin Bradstreet's sounding of "Taps."

"At the conclusion of 'Taps,' we will observe a moment of silence for all officers who have fallen in the line of duty," Reagle said.

Students from the Garden City Community College department of public safety and Finney County middle and high school police academy students also attended the event, which was followed by refreshments inside the Law Enforcement Center.

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