LOCAL GOVERNMENT

Officers from the Harker Heights Police Department will be joining tens of thousands of law enforcement officers across the nation to recognize Peace Officers Memorial Day on Tuesday, May 15 at 10 a.m.

Many cities use the occasion to honor their fallen officers, and this year the department is hosting officers for the Bell County Police Memorial Ceremony honoring officers in Texas who were killed in the line of duty.

The public is welcome to attend.

The department has had two officers killed in the line of duty, Carl Levin in 1978 and Andrew Rameas in 2010.

“It hits close to home for us because it’s part of our history, but several Bell County officers have been killed in the line of duty over the last few years,” said Lt. Betiale Hawkins of the Harker Heights Police Department. “Bell County lost a state trooper” last year.

At the ceremony, participants will post the colors, sing the national anthem, present a wreath, have a 21-gun salute and read the names of all Texas officers killed in 2017 in the line of duty. The mayor will read a proclamation and a guest speaker will talk about losing a family member in the line of duty. A singer will sing a song he wrote honoring officers.

In 2015 the department unveiled the statue of an officer with a child where the ceremony will be held. “We’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback on it,” Hawkins said.

Peace Officers Memorial Day has a long history.

In 1962, President John F. Kennedy signed a proclamation which designated May 15 as Peace Officers Memorial Day and the week in which that date falls as Police Week, according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.

“This year, the names of 360 officers killed in the line of duty are being added to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, DC,” according to the organization. 129 officers were killed during 2017 and another 231 names will be added from previous years.

The ceremony will be at the Harker Heights Police Department, 402 Indian Trail Drive.

Emily Hilley-Sierzchula is reporter for the Killeen Daily Herald. Reach her at emilys@kdhnews.com

 

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