Peace Officers Memorial Ceremony held in Ascension
It was a cool, windy Friday morning. The sun was out after strong weather ripped through the region Wednesday night. The following 12 Louisiana police officers killed in the line of duty were remembered:
1. Sergeant Derrick Morial Mingo of the Winnsboro Police Department
2. Deputy David Francis Michel, Jr. of the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office
3. Officer Matthew Lane Gerald of the Baton Rouge Police Department
4. Deputy Brad Garafola, Sr. of the East Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office
5. Officer Jude Williams Lewis of the New Orleans Police Department
6. Lieutenant Shawn T. Anderson of the East Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office
7. Officer Natasha Maria Hunter of the New Orleans Police Department
8. Sergeant David Kyle Elahi of the Sterlington Police Department
9. Corporal Montrell Lyle Jackson of the Baton Rouge Police Department
10. Officer Shannon Matthew Brown of the Fenton Police Department
11. Officer Michael D. Louviere of the Westwego Police Department
12. Deputy Justin L. Beard of the Ouachita Parish Sheriff's Office
These officer's End of Watch came between June 4, 2016 and April 30, 2017. Sheriff Jeff Wiley participated in the placing of the Wreath before the crowd.
"We swear an oath to God to protect . . . It is black. It is white. This is the democratic vision of law enforcement," Wiley said. "Two is way too many. Five is way too many. 12 is way too many."
The traditional police memorial service included Retired Lt. Will Brian playing bagpipes and officers firing rifles. APSO Chaplain Ken Spivey led the invocation. Single red roses were presented to the loved ones of the fallen officers.
A moving speech was heard by keynote speakers Trenisha Jackson and Tonja Garafola, wives of fallen officers. Garafola reminded everyone that fallen officers leave behind family and children in many cases.
During the time that roses were presented, Lt. Laura Gremillion read the roll call. This is when the crowd in attendance hears a brief but moving account of each officers' End of Watch.
The wind whipped the American flag, which hung just beyond the crowd on the lawn of the APSO training center.