Sedalia Police Department officers, command staff, families and friends gathered at the Municipal Building on Wednesday to honor fallen law enforcement officers.
The annual Peace Officer’s Memorial Ceremony, held each year during National Police Week, invites law enforcement officers to pay their respects to those who have lost their lives in the line of duty. Nationally, 127 officers have been killed since May 15, 2012.
During the opening ceremony, SPD Chief John DeGonia said the memorial is a call to “honor and pay tribute our brothers and sisters in law enforcement. This ceremony is our way of expressing our gratitude for their dedication and offering their families our deepest sympathy.”
Locally, no officers have been killed in the line of duty in decades, something Mayor Elaine Horn said she was very thankful for.
“We’ve been very blessed to not have had that tragedy here,” she said. “Ceremonies like this are a good reminder just how blessed we are. These men and women go out every day to serve our community and make Sedalia a safer place to be. It’s good to be reminded sometimes that not every town is so lucky.”
DeGonia said he was pleased to see a large crowd at the service and noted in years past command staff have read all the names of the fallen officers. Three years ago a change was made to present a slideshow to give participants a chance to see photos of the officers who had died.
“It helps to see a face, not just hear a name. It makes it more real for people,” he said. “These ceremonies, while held every year, are extremely important. It’s a solemn event designed to give people a chance to remember not only the fallen, but also what police officers face every day.”