Fallen Officers Honored at Memorial
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF)- Law enforcement across the Tennessee Valley paid their respects today.
The Law Enforcement Memorial has been in place since the early 1990s, and has been the site of an annual service honoring those who have died in the line of duty.
Hamilton County Sheriff Austin Garrett said, “One of the most important things we can do as a community is to always remember and honor those who gave their life and service to this community.”
73 law enforcement officers are honored at the memorial located next to the Hamilton County Courts Building.
Two names, whose impact are still felt by their communities, were added to this list.
Tennessee Highway Patrol Sergeant Harold Lee Russell and Marion County Sheriff Matthew Walker Blansett were the fallen officers added.
Russell and Blansett were killed when their helicopter crashed off of I-24 in Marion County while on a mission.
Their names will be immortalized along the memorial wall on Market Street.
Sheriff Garrett said, “You never get over something like this, but it’s part of the healing process, and we’re a family in law enforcement, whether you’re actually the law enforcement officer or the family that supports the law enforcement officer.”
The Chattanooga Police Department and Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office collaborates on this service, with many regional departments participating.
Despite the sorrow, there was a message of hope.
J.B. Gaskins, the President/CEO of Blood Assurance who was the keynote speaker for the memorial, said, “I’m pretty sure from what I’ve learned of these two, they epitomized the definition of heroism.”
For those who might take a random stroll through Downtown Chattanooga, a hero’s tribute awaits those who walk by the Law Enforcement Memorial.
Sheriff Garrett said, “I encourage the public, a lot of them don’t know the monument’s here, I encourage the public to come by and look at this, and see the names on this wall, and not forget the men and women who died serving this community and the surrounding area.”
If you want to go by this memorial, it is located on Market Street right in front of the Hamilton County Courts Building.
It is adjacent to the entrance of the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office.