Fallen officers remembered by local police in Chattanooga
Hundreds gather to pay respects to those lost in line of duty
CHATTANOOGA (WDEF) — Next week is National Police Week in the United States, but Tuesday night in downtown Chattanooga, local officers who lost their lives in the line of duty were honored as heroes during the city’s annual Law Enforcement Memorial Ceremony.
On Market Street, family, friends and fellow officers all paid their tributes to the fallen.
In his decades of service, Hamilton County Sheriff Jim Hammond knows many who died to protect, honor and serve.
“I can certainly, probably reflect if I think about it a while,” Hammond said. “[There are] at least 10 that I’ve seen lose their lives over the years and I’ve been doing this about 50 years. I think all officers when they walk out the door, probably their wives more than they do think, ‘I hope he comes home.’ It is a dangerous career, no doubt about it.”
The ceremony was hosted by the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office and Chattanooga Police Department to “pay respects and recognize local law enforcement heroes” who gave the ultimate sacrifice.
As his professional career winds to a close, Hammond says he hopes for larger turnouts from local residents at the ceremony in the years to come.
“The sad part is not enough of the public does the honor, even though it’s advertised,” Hammond said. “People say, ‘Well, I didn’t know you were going to do that.’ If I could have one wish, it’s [that] the public would recognize more the need to come out here and pay tribute to the fallen heroes.”
Roses were laid, tears shed, and fallen officers dating back to even the 1800s were remembered for their service.
A final prayer from Rev. Friar David E. Prestidge of St. Bartholomew Orthodox Church closed the evening with a strong message: May the fallen and their loved ones always be remembered, never forgotten.
“Help us to remember, support and pray for their loved ones, their wives and husbands who no longer feel the warmth of their presence, their children who so greatly miss them [and] the parents who have suffered grievous loss,” Prestridge said.