City of Athens honors fallen officers - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

City of Athens honors fallen officers

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Police officers in Athens lit candles in memory of nine lives lost in the line of duty. (Source: Holly H./City of Athens) Police officers in Athens lit candles in memory of nine lives lost in the line of duty. (Source: Holly H./City of Athens)
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ATHENS, AL (WAFF) -

Police officers in Athens lit candles in memory of nine lives lost in the line of duty.

For the first time Thursday, the Athens Police Department held a candlelight vigil at the Law Enforcement Memorial at the Limestone County Courthouse.

The ceremony was set to coincide with National Police Week.

According to a city spokesperson, the nine people whose names are etched on the memorial were killed doing routine duties such as transporting blood, answering 911 calls and patrolling highways.

"Our officers risk their lives daily doing similar routine duties," said Mayor Ronnie Marks. "I ask our citizens to… take a moment to say ‘thank you' to those who serve now and pay tribute to those who are no longer with us."

The nine officers honored at the ceremony were killed between 1918 and 2004. An attendee at the vigil said those nine people were all important to the area's history.

"I think it's great that they're going that far back. Sometimes generations forget about people before their generation, and it's very appropriate that they are doing that," said Stormy McLemore-Ripley. Stormy is a family member of  Lieutenant Benton McLemore, who was killed in the line of duty in 1969.

The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund said there has been a 26% increase in law enforcement fatalities within the past year nationwide.

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