As the sound of taps echoed across Juneau's Evergreen Cemetery on Tuesday, law enforcement officers, their families and others gathered at a memorial service to remember fallen police officers and recognize the contributions of those who serve.
The Alaska Police Memorial has 33 names on it, and fortunately no names have been added in the past year, Lt. Gov. Fran Ulmer said.
Four of the names are from the Juneau Police Department. Donald Dull was killed in 1964. Richard J. Adair and Jimmy Earl Kennedy were shot when responding to a call in 1979, and Karl W. Reishus died in a 1992 training incident.
Reishus' son Craig, 13, thanked police officers for their work in the schools, the DARE program and bike safety instruction. Juneau's police officers have cared for his family, stepping in for fishing trips, birthdays and emergencies, he said.
"While we lost a father, we gained all of you," he said.
Three Alaska State Troopers who died in the line of duty served in Juneau. Trooper Sgt. Robert Bittnick and Deputy Public Safety Commissioner C.E. Swackhammer died in a 1994 plane crash. And Trooper Bruce Heck, who was a security officer in Juneau before transferring to the trooper post in Glennallen, was killed in 1997 while struggling with a suspect.
Juneau Police Department Lt. Walt Boman asked people to look past the uniforms officers wear and remember the people behind them. Police officers and their families give up holidays, weekends and anniversaries in service to the community, he said.
"It's real easy to hear news about another police officer being killed and not have an appreciation for what they do. Police officers and their families give up a lot, seven days a week, 365 days a year," he said.
Tuesday was Law Enforcement Memorial Day in Alaska. More than 25 officers from the Juneau Police Department and the Alaska State Troopers stood at attention during the memorial. Representatives from the Veterans of Foreign Wars Taku Post 5559 and Ladies Auxiliary presented wreaths during the service, and Juneau Mayor Sally Smith and Juneau Police Chief Mel Personett addressed the crowd.
Joanna Markell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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