A man clad in blue jeans and a black sweatshirt, his daughter close by his side, walked solemnly across the parking lot at the Wyoming Law Enforcement Academy to place flowers at the base of the law enforcement memorial, while to the left, another family bowed their heads silently, the men in the group clasping their cowboy hats tightly to their chests paying stoic respect to our nation’s fallen officers.
The sky over Douglas was as somber as folks’ moods, as law enforcement personnel and guests attended the Law Enforcement Memorial Day May 17.
The annual ceremony, held in conjunction with National Police Week, honors those serving in law enforcement capacities both in Wyoming and nationally, who died serving their towns and communities.
As the program began, Douglas Police Department Officer Bryan Kelley sang the national anthem.
Mark A. Klaassen, United States Attorney for the District of Wyoming, addressed the officers and loved ones in the crowd, speaking of close calls, of officers who made it out alive, and unfortunately, those who didn’t get to go home to their wives and children ever again.
“How brave these men and women are,” he said. “I encourage law enforcement to uphold the values we believe in and to overcome the challenges you face. You have our unequivocal support. We owe you a great debt.”
A proclamation by Governor Mark Gordon, read during the event, officially set aside May 12-18 as Wyoming Law Enforcement week and May 17 as Law Enforcement Day.
“The governor wished to express his appreciation to law enforcement officers for their dedication, service and sacrifice. They defend our communities and preserve our way of life. (Those who) lost their lives have given the ultimate sacrifice. They served with courage and they have our deepest respect. We want you to know – we will not forget,” said Wyoming Attorney General Bridgett Hill, speaking on behalf of the governor.
Members of the Wyoming State Patrol, Washakie County Sherriff’s Office, the Game Wardens’ Association, Wheatland, Casper, Glenrock, and Douglas Police Departments, Wyoming State Parks and the Wyoming Law Enforcement Academy took turns reading out a roll call of officers who have died in the line of duty in the last year.