JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – Community and law enforcement leaders came together to attend a local observance of Peace Officers Memorial Day on Monday.
It took place at 10:00 AM at the monument area adjacent to the pond in the Jacksonville Commons.
President John F. Kennedy proclaimed May 15th as National Peace Officers Memorial Day in 1962.
The event paid tribute to the thousands of men and women who serve with extraordinary bravery and lost their lives while in the line of duty. In Jacksonville, Officer Terry Lanier and Detective William Whitehead lost their lives while serving the public.
The observance included an honor guard, ceremonial music, and laying of the ceremonial wreath. There were also keynote remarks from Representative Phil Shepherd, NC House District 15.
“It changes the community forever and I think we need to remember that,” said Chief Mike Yaniero, Director of Public Safety. “Not just their sacrifices but their families’ sacrifices as well. The observance allows us to remember the heroes who have laid down their lives in pursuit of a safer, more just society.”
The 130 officer strong force is devoting more time to training younger officers in light of recent events.
“There has to be somebody that does it and without law enforcement, we would have a bad community and a bad society,” Sgt. Mark Ketchum, JPD, said.
In the past year, four law enforcement officers were killed in the line of duty in the state of North Carolina.