Councilmembers, city staff, and members of the general public gathered outside the Longmont Safety and Justice Center on Tuesday, May 15, 2018, for the 23rd annual Peace Officer Memorial Service to honor those who died serving and protecting their community.
The memorial started with a welcome and opening prayer by Chaplain Ed McQueen. It was followed by a proclamation by Councilmember Finley who proclaimed May 13-19, 2018 as “National Police Week” and designated Tuesday, May 15th as “Peace Officers’ Memorial Day” in Longmont, Colorado.
Andy Wineman, Pastor at Flatirons Community Church and Volunteer Chaplin at the Boulder County Sheriff’s Department, honored three Colorado officers who lost their lives on the line of duty since December 31, 2017 and was followed with a speech given by Boulder County Sheriff Joe Pelle.
Heath McDonald Gumm, who was shot and killed during a foot pursuit in Thorton, CO on January 24, 2018; Micah Flick, who died on Monday, February 5, 2018, while conducting an auto theft investigation in Colorado Springs; and Zackari Parrish, who was shot and killed on December 31, 2017 after responding to a “disturbance call involving an emotionally disturbed man” in Highlands Ranch, CO, were honored.
“The emotion of the impact of these deaths and the effect that they’ve had on those families is overwhelming,” Pelle stated.
Jeff Pelle, Joe’s son, was shot and injured while responding to the New Year’s Eve call that killed Parrish.
Pelle also stated statistics on officer deaths over the course of the last year and a half: 128 officers were killed nationwide in 2017, a 10% decrease over the previous year and the lowest level in four years.
Traffic accidents were the leading cause of death in 2017 for police officers. To date, 2018 has seen 53 police fatalities and a 56% increase in firearms-related deaths of police officers in the United States.
“When there is so much tragedy in the news all the time, you begin to think that that is the reality. The reality is that we serve amazing communities full of wonderful people,” said Pelle.
“I hope that the love and support of our cops is sustained and grows in our communities. I hope people continue giving our officers a thumbs up, a smile, a thank you for your service upon passing,” continued Pelle.
“A silent majority of good and that good outweighs the evil every day, every time. And that’s who we serve: the community.”