Heavy rainfall couldn’t deter members of Juneau’s community and first responders from gathering to pay their respects to fallen officers.
The Alaska Peace Officers Association welcomed members of the Juneau Police Department and Capital City Fire/Rescue along with family members and loved ones to join as the Association hosted a memorial service on Friday at Evergreen Cemetery.
Detective Kirt Stage-Harvey, past president of the Capital City Chapter of the Alaska Peace Officers Association, led the ceremony first in a moment of silence followed by an invocation by USCG Capt. Darwin Jensen along with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Stage-Harvey said the ceremony, which takes place nationwide, is a way of publicly expressing gratitude and appreciation for the service and sacrifice of fallen officers.
“This is a way for us to join in solidarity with the United States and say that we support our law enforcement officers,” Stage-Harvey said. “We support the work that they do and we grieve the loss of those who have given their life in the line of duty and we honor them.”
After opening remarks were provided by Stage-Harvey, a reading of fallen officers was presented through an honor roll read by Sgt. Christopher Russel with the Alaska State Troopers accompanied by the tolling of a bell with each name from a member of the Honor Guard.
Wreaths were laid at the gravesite of two fallen Juneau officers, Officer Richard J. Adair and Chief of Detectives Donald Thomas Dull.
Following the wreath laying by the Inter-Agency Honor Guard, the keynote speaker, Assistant Superintendent Daryl Webster with the Lemon Creek Correctional Center, took to the lectern to address the crowd. He said service in law enforcement is often a thankless effort, however, members of the community who know they’re safe know those who serve are responsible for that safety.
Playing of taps was then performed by Troop 700 Scout Sven Rasmussen immediately followed by a benediction led by Jensen.
Juneau Police Chief Ed Mercer said the annual ceremonies are not just important for recognizing fallen officers, but those continuing to make the selfless sacrifices for their communities all across the country, as well.
“They put their uniform on every single day, they go out and do their job and sometimes they pay the ultimate sacrifice,” Mercer said. “This is very meaningful for us to be able to come out every year and do this, even in the rain, to recognize our fallen officers across the country.”
• Contact reporter Jonson Kuhn at email@example.com.