FAYETTEVILLE — Fallen, but not forgotten.
The F.O.P. Lodge 118 Police Memorial event was held on Friday, May 14 at the Fayette County Courthouse.
The guest speaker, Fayette County Prosecuting Attorney Anthony Ciliberti Jr., termed it a "privilege and honor" to address those assembled on the lawn of the Fayette County Courthouse. He thanked those in attendance at the 2021 Peace Officers Memorial Service in honor of Peace Officers Memorial Day.
"Your attendance at this memorial service clearly shows that you care about and you support the men and women of our law enforcement community," said Ciliberti. The mission Friday was to offer tribute to those that "paid the ultimate price in the line of duty."
As a practicing lawyer in Fayette County for more than two decades, Ciliberti said he has "had the opportunity to work with and develop relations with our law enforcement. ... As a lawyer that has worked with our law enforcement community for over 20 years, I have been given a front row seat to the work performed by the men and women of our law enforcement community."
"You may read in the newspaper or watch on the news a story about a particular criminal case, but rarely are the members of the public given any insight into the dangers to which men and women of the law enforcement community face in working to make our world a safer place."
"Theirs is a dangerous job," Ciliberti continued. "Whether conducting a traffic stop at night on a rural country road, whether executing a search warrant on a house that is known to contain drugs or firearms, or attempting to execute a warrant on a violent criminal ... the men and women of law enforcement regularly subject themselves to innumerable dangers all for the purpose of serving and protecting the rest of their community."
In discussing more than 80 indictments returned by a Fayette County grand jury last week, one particular case resulted in an indictment for attempted murder, and "the victim in that case was none other than one of our Fayette County sheriff's deputies," the prosecutor said. "The case started as an investigation as a minor theft and somehow escalated to the point that the suspect attempted to take the life of one of our deputies by shooting him.
"Thankfully, his training and experience saved the day."
The afternoon's activities included a roll call of honor read by Jim Sizemore, Fayette County probation officer; Jennifer Crane, Fayette County assistant prosecuting attorney; Lt. Jess McMullen of the Fayette County Sheriff's Department; and Officer William K. McGraw of the West Virginia Natural Resource Police. It details the officers who have given the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty in West Virginia.
The officer in the aforementioned case that resulted in indictment "came within inches of being shot," Ciliberti said. "Thankfully, his name will not be read today."
Despite the inherent dangers of their job, law enforcement officers "faithfully perform their job day in and day out without any expectation of gratitude or thanks from the public, and with the possibly that their actions will be subject to second-guessing, Monday morning quarterbacking or questioning of their motivations," said Ciliberti. "Never forget what it is that these men and women do for the rest of us. ... And let us never forget those who have fallen in service of protecting their community."
Through last week, 125 law enforcement officers had died in the line of duty in the United States so far in 2021, according to numbers presented by James R. Pack, a detective/sergeant with the Oak Hill Police Department.
The aim Friday was to "honor our fallen officers and give thanks to those officers that are still serving today," Pack said.
Amanda Bousheley, a clerk with the Oak Hill Police Department, sang two songs during the ceremony. Gayle Koone, retired chaplain of F.O.P. Lodge 118, delivered the opening and closing prayers, Fayetteville Police Department Capt. Chad E. Davis, lowered the flags, and Monty Price, Amy Farrish and Sonya Wood aided in the event.
A honor guard representing multiple Fayette County agencies also had a big role in the event.
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