CRESTVIEW — As the community prepares to observe National Police Week and Peace Officers Memorial Day next week, members paused Thursday evening to honor officers who reached their End of Watch.
About 200 residents and officers attended the Law Enforcement Memorial and Recognition Ceremony held in a darkened Warriors Hall. Officers represented agencies including the Crestview and Fort Walton Beach Police Departments, Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office, the U.S. Air Force Police, Florida Highway Patrol, Crestview and Munson Fire Departments, and the Department of Transportation patrol division.
The Rev. Mark Broadhead, police chaplain, said that officers' seeming emotional detachment at a crime scene belies a caring public servant.
"They wear protective vests and carry various tools to protect themselves," he said. "But nothing can keep the emotions of a situation from penetrating their hearts. And it happens all the time to even the biggest and strongest officers."
Officers defend residents from "the ubiquitous impiety of our contemporary times," Police Chief Tony Taylor said.
"Law enforcement officers are our last line of defense against those that would take away our way of life, our families, and even our lives; just for fun, to support a filthy habit or to initiate themselves into a malevolent fraternity," he said.
President John F. Kennedy established the calendar week of May 15 as National Police Week and May 15 as Peace Officers Memorial Day.