Crestview police honor fallen and current officers

Peace Officers Memorial Day ceremony is brief but solemn

Brian Hughes/Special to the News Bulletin/USA TODAY NETWORK NETWORK

CRESTVIEW — As far as official ceremonies go, Thursday’s Crestview Police Department observance of Peace Officers Memorial Day was relatively short, but few ceremonies have been as solemn.

Crestview Mayor JB Whitten reads a proclamation designating Police Week in Crestview during the Remembrance at the Pole ceremony Thursday. Observing are Senior Police Chaplain Mark Broadhead, Chaplain Harry Tomlin, Police Chief Stephen McCosker and Chaplain Edwin Stallworth.

Remembrance at the Pole, held at the flagpole outside the Whitehurst Municipal Building that houses the CPD, was conducted primarily by the agency’s chaplains and was over in about 15 minutes.

But that meaningful quarter of an hour allowed plenty of time to reflect on the rigors and challenges of being a police officer in America, as well as to honor local officers who’ve fallen in the line of duty and to praise the supportive community local officers find in Crestview.

“If you put on the news, there’s no way you’d put on the uniform” of a police officer, Police Chief Stephen McCosker said. “But if you walk down Main Street and talk to the people of Crestview, you have no problem wearing the uniform.”

Crestview Police Chief Stephen McCosker reads a list of fallen Okaloosa County law enforcement officers during a Peace Officers Memorial Day ceremony Thursday.

Mayor JB Whitten drew applause from the more than 40 attendees, more than half of whom were law officers, when he said, “We appreciate what you do and we’re always going to stand behind you.”

The mayor then read a proclamation, previously presented at the May 10 City Council meeting, declaring May 10-15 as Police Week in Crestview.

“It is important that all citizens know and understand the problems, duties and responsibilities of their police department, and that members of our police department recognize their duty to serve the people by safeguarding life and property, by protecting them against violence or disorder, and by protecting the innocent against deception and the weak against oppression or intimidation,” Whitten’s proclamation read in part.

Members of the Crestview Citizens Police Academy Alumni group serve refreshments Thursday following the Crestview Police Department’s Remembrance at the Pole ceremony.

The chief’s recital of the names of the county’s nine fallen officers, beginning with Okaloosa County Sheriff John Monroe Summerlin, whose end of watch was Jan. 21, 1921, reminded the public and officers of the hazards police face daily.

“We thank you for our life, our liberty and our pursuit of happiness,” Chaplain Edwin Stallworth said during his opening invocation, invoking the Almighty as much as CPD's officers.

“I have no problem recruiting young men and women to serve as Crestview police officers, because they know how they’ll be treated in the community,” McCosker said.

Following the ceremony, the assembly was invited to enjoy breakfast treats in the Warriors Hall lobby, courtesy of the Crestview Citizens Police Academy Alumni support group. 

In addition to doughnuts and muffins, blue light bulbs were available for residents to put in their porch lights to honor law enforcement officers throughout May, which is considered Law Enforcement Month.