Roanoke Valley community gathers for annual Law Enforcement Memorial Service

Published: May. 19, 2023 at 12:16 AM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - Each day, law enforcement officers put their uniforms on and leave their homes, not knowing what might happen.

“These are fathers, brothers, sisters, mothers who actually came home, eat dinner, go to sleep, get up and go to work and then they never came home. It’s a tragic, but it’s a brutal profession at times,” said Craig Harris, Chief of Police at Virginia Western Community College.

More than a hundred people came out to the annual Law Enforcement Memorial Service Thursday evening. More than 10 law enforcement agencies in our hometowns were in attendance. All officers who died in the line of duty since 1892 had their names read, followed by the ring of a bell in each person’s honor.

“What we want to do with a service is honor that service. Not only that they’ve passed in the line of duty; we want to honor the fact that they were community members. They’re the people that we serve. They do mow the grass on Saturdays, they do go to church on Sundays, they do go to the concerts at the Roanoke Civic Center. There are people just like the rest of us who do a very difficult job and at times that job cost them their lives.”

One of the keynote speakers included Covington Chief of Police Chris Smith. Covington Police Officer Caleb Ogilvie was killed in the line of duty in March 2022.

“It was it was absolutely heartbreaking because Caleb epitomized what it is to sacrifice and be a good person doing a very difficult job, you could not ask for a better person, veteran and solid, solid police officer, and a very, very good, honest person. So when when we lost him, it’s been pretty recent., but it was important that we make the offer to Chief Smith to come here from Covington, because he has a perspective that a lot of us don’t have. And he was gracious enough to come here and offer a wonderful message during a very difficult week for him.”

The memorial service is also a time to honor the families of the men and women who gave the ultimate sacrifice, making sure they know they will always be supported by the law enforcement community.