A group gathered at St. Peter's Catholic Church on Thursday night to honor police officers across the nation who have lost their lives or became disabled while on duty.
The ceremony was part of a celebration of National Peace Officers Memorial Day, which is officially May 15, and is also part of the nationally recognized Police Week. This is the 50th year the day has been celebrated since John F. Kennedy signed the proclamation in 1962, according to policeweek.org.
A number of speakers took the podium to praise the work of these dedicated officers, including Port Mayor Tom Mlada, Port Police Chief Kevin Hingiss and Port Police Capt. Mike Keller.
"We are indebted to your service," Mlada said. "It is truly a humbling, awe-inspired experience to be in this peace-filled ceremony, in a peace-filled city — and honoring the men and women who (keep it that way)."
Much of the speeches also focused on the "fallen heroes" who "gave it all," in Keller's words. In the middle of the ceremony, the officers participated in a roll call ceremony, placing red flowers in vases to recognize officers who lost their lives in the midwest states in 2011 while on duty.
The recognized officers included (cited information taken from Officer Down Memorial Page, odmp.org):
- Deputy Sheriff Suzanne Michelle Hopper, of Ohio, "shot and killed after responding to a call of a window being shot out at a trailer park in Enon."
- Police Officer Larry James Nehasil, of Michigan, "shot and killed in Walled Lake while conducting surveillance on two brothers wanted in connection with several burglaries and home invasion robberies."
- Police Officer Tom Hayes, of Ohio, "succumbed to complications of a gunshot wound sustained 31 years earlier while attempting to arrest two teens on a curfew violation."
- Officer David Spencer Moore, of Indiana, "succumbed to gunshot wounds suffered three days earlier after stopping a stolen vehicle at 9:05 am in the 3400 block of North Temple Avenue."
- Police Officer Jonathan V. Bastock, of Ohio, "passed away from complications of an on duty injury he sustained one month earlier."
- Capt. Daniel Patrick Stiles, of Ohio, "struck and killed by the driver of a vehicle while directing traffic."
- Police Officer Andrew Scott Dunn, of Ohio, "shot and killed while attempting to question a suspect."
- Police Officer Craig Allen Birkholz, of Wisconsin, "fatally shot after he and another officer responded to a home on South Lincoln Avenue at approximately 6:00 am for an emergency call."
- Sgt. Eric John Stein, of Iowa, "shot and killed as he, the county sheriff, and another deputy attempted to question a man regarding an incident that had occurred the previous night."
- Trooper Jeffrey James Werda, of Michigan, "killed in an automobile accident while responding to assist Saginaw County deputies who were involved in a pursuit."
- Public Safety Officer Eric Emiliano Zapata, Michigan, "shot and killed after responding to reports of a shots fired call on Hays Park Avenue."
- Sgt. Brian Scott Dulle, of Ohio, "struck and killed by a suspect's vehicle while deploying stop sticks at the intersection of U.S. 42 and Utica Road."
- Police Officer Paul Winston Nauden, of Illinois, "suffered a fatal heart attack while conducting an undercover narcotics buy as part of a large narcotics investigation."
- Police Officer Charles Edward Armour, of Michigan, "succumbed to injuries sustained one week earlier when he was intentionally struck by a vehicle he had attempted to stop while on foot patrol in the Greektown area of Detroit."
- Police Officer Brent Daniel Long, of Indiana, "shot and killed as he and other officers served a felony warrant at a house."
- Trooper Mark Edward Toney, of Iowa, "killed in an automobile accident on U.S. Highway 65/69, south of Indianola."
- Patrol Officer Trevor Parker Slot, of Michigan, "struck and killed by a bank robbery suspect while attempting to deploy stop sticks on I-96 at 8th Avenue."
- Police Officer Michael Joseph Pollitz, of Minnesota, "suffered a fatal pulmonary embolism while responding to a home to conduct a welfare check."
- Police Officer Clifton P. Lewis, of Illinois, "shot and killed while attempting to take action during a robbery at a grocery store on North Austin Boulevard."
- Police Officer Shawn Steven Schneider, of Minnesota, "succumbed to a gunshot wound sustained 11 days earlier after responding to a domestic disturbance call on West Lyon Avenue."
Two white flowers were also placed in special memory of:
- Police Chief Thomas Buntrock, of the Mequon Police Department, died in 1979; "accidentally shot and killed by a another officer following an armed robbery and hostage situation. The robbery suspect fled into a home where he took a man and infant child hostage. Chief Buntrock was able to negotiate the release of the hostages in exchange for taking the Chief hostage."
- Officer Peter Larsen, of the Beloit Police Department; died in 1998, "died of a gunshot wound received fourteen years earlier when he responded to a kidnapping complaint. After arriving on the scene the suspect, who was the victim's estranged boyfriend, shot both Officer Larsen and the kidnapping victim twice in the head. The kidnapping victim died the following month. Officer Larsen was left a quadriplegic and in a semi comatose state. Officer Larsen died near Las Vegas, Nevada, where his family had moved to help his health."