National Police Week: Fallen officers in North Alabama being honored at area services
MORGAN COUNTY, Ala. (WAFF) - It’s National Police Week, and many officers across the United States and Tennessee Valley are being honored for their sacrifice.
Morgan County, Limestone County, Huntsville police, and citizens will gather and pay homage to officers who gave their lives in the line of duty.
Officials with the Morgan County Sheriff’s Office will remember its fallen officers and show support to officers who are still alive on Tuesday at 9:30 a.m. in Cotaco Park, which is located on the grounds of the Morgan County Courthouse.
According to Mike Swafford with the Sheriff’s Office, officer safety is always on their minds; it’s one thing that keeps sheriffs up at night.
It has been almost 38 years since a Morgan County Sheriff’s Deputy died while serving the area. Deputy Sheriff Charles “Bill” Biles died on May 23, 1985. Biles was shot and killed while checking on a suspicious vehicle near Brewer High School. Authorities say he prevented a possible school shooting.
According to Swafford, several positive changes have been made since then. The Sheriff’s Office has worked over the years to enhance officer safety and mitigate risks to it.
”Since 1985, the safety features that law enforcement has available have grown exponentially from the vest, what they’re capable of stopping, and then just the tactics, you know, depending on what’s going on,” said Swafford. “Very rarely do we respond to anything with just one deputy if we can avoid it.”
The memorial ceremony is open to the public.
Huntsville Police are also honoring fallen officers this week. On Monday, they held a brick dedication and added Officer Garrett Crumby to their Fallen Officer Memorial.
Officer Crumby was shot on March 28th while responding to reports of a shooting. He later died from his injuries at the hospital. Crumby was a three-year veteran of the Huntsville Police Department and previously served for eight years with the Tuscaloosa Police Department.
Police say when a department loses an officer, it’s not just an agency that loses the officer; it’s an entire nation.
”It it takes a toll. When that happens, the tone is different. The feeling is different because it’s just that instant reminder that this can happen anywhere at any time,” said Swafford. “I always often wonder, ‘How do you take that next breath when it’s somebody that you work with every day or it’s a family member?’ And it’s one of those things that strength has to come from God.”
Huntsville Police plan to have their annual Fallen Officer Memorial Service Thursday from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. Chief Kirk Giles will speak during the program to pay respect to their fallen officers.
City leaders and officers with the Athens Police Department and Limestone County Sheriff’s Office will get together at the Limestone County Courthouse Tuesday to pay their respects and remember the lives of the nine men who paid the ultimate sacrifice. The program will be held at 5 p.m.
WAFF 48 will be attending memorials across the Valley. You can click each city or county to read more about some of the fallen officers in North Alabama: Huntsville, Morgan County, Athens, and Limestone County.
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