Ascension Parish Sheriff's Office hosts fallen officer memorial

Greg Fischer Editor-in-chief

"In that moment when an officer goes down, in our time of pain and sorrow, that circle of life feels so broken," Chief Deputy Bobby Webre addressed the crowd at the Fallen Officer's Memorial last week. "When an officer goes down, red and blue lights can't bring them back. And when an officer goes down, no earthly power can reverse the hands of time. We can't bring them back. So today is a special day we honor and we remember. We lay a wreath, and the fragrance of those flowers will rise to heaven."

Four officers from across Louisiana were remembered at the ceremony: Lafayette Police Corporal Michael Middlebrook, New Orleans Police Officer Marcus McNeil, Zachary Reserve Officer Christopher Lawton, and Monroe Police Officer Ayrian Williams.

Many police officers from Louisiana departments were in attendance, along with the families of those who were killed in the line of duty.

A gun salute, roses, and bagpipes are key elements to the memorial.

"We'll fire a volley, and we will aim it on high," Webre said. "We play the pipes, and that gracefully amazing sound will drift off to a place better known for its walls of jasper and golden avenues, the new Jerusalem."

Retired Baton Rouge Police Chief Carl Dabadie Jr. was the keynote speaker. Dabadie said that President Kennedy signed into law that May 15 of each year is Police Officers Memorial Day, and the seven days that surround it are known as National Police Week.

"While honoring those who have sacrificed all, I want to acknowledge the real heroes, the families," Dabadie said. "The families who were left behind to deal with the emotions of everything they've been doing. They are the families who have sacrificed endless days and nights when their loved ones were pulling another shift, making a late arrest, spending their day off in court, and going the extra mile to make sure their case was solid."

This year's ceremony featured a fraction of the fallen officers celebrated in the 2017 ceremony, but that is hardly encouraging.

"We're looking for the day where we celebrate no loss of life in a year," Sheriff Jeff Wiley said. "I believe God's going to give it to us one day. In the meantime, we have representatives from so many departments here from those four departments where they lost officers tragically in the line of duty, and others. They are representing our chosen profession. They are representing our lost coworkers and representing this badge that they are so privileged to wear on their chest."

Lt. Laura Gremillion presented the names of the fallen officers and provided each of their circumstances to the end of watch. Single roses were presented to the loved ones of the fallen.