Anniston, AL – The 7th annual Alabama Law Enforcement Memorial Ceremony was held Friday to close out a week of Law Enforcement Appreciation. The memorial was a somber occasion recognizing those lost in serving their communities. This event was organized by Mr. Ken Rollins who was instrumental, along with former Commissioner Eli Henderson and others, in creating the memorial for law enforcement officers, veterans, as well as fire and rescue first responders who have lost their lives.
The ceremony opened with an invocation by Dr. Grinstead, Chaplin for Oxford Police. Calhoun Circuit Clerk Kim McCarson recognized distinguished guests. The Post of Colors was completed by local Honor Guards followed by the National Anthem sung by Judge Alice Martin. Ken Rollins welcomed all those attending and then a local honor guard performed the fallen officer ceremony.
Oxford Chief of Police, Bill Partridge introduced the main speaker, Attorney General Steve Marshall. Closing music was performed by the Alabama Law Enforcement Memorial Pipes and Drums followed by a closing prayer by Dr. Grinstead. Sheriff Wade performed with the Alabama Law Enforcement Memorial Pipes and Drums and said to the Calhoun Journal, “We have been practicing since August for this day because of how much it means to all of us to show respect for all fallen officers.” He went on to explain that this week’s meaning is to honor those lost as well as their survivors. He further added, “This week is about showing dignity to them.” During his speech Attorney General Marshall stated “The mission should be to never add another name to this wall.” He also said “I have seen the bravery of the men and women who wear that badge.” After the ceremony had concluded, Chief Bill Partridge of the Oxford Police Department spoke to the Calhoun Journal and shared that, “On this day every year we honor those men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice, so that we never forget their names and what they gave for our protection.”
Many attendees were family and friends of law enforcement who have lost their lives in the line of duty. Three attendees were the family members of Deputy Sheriff Walter Raymond Hall. In December of 2022 it was discovered that a Calhoun County Deputy who died in October 1962 actually was a line of duty death that was not recognized at the time. The Calhoun County Sheriff’s Department made a great effort to get that corrected and have Deputy Sheriff Walter Raymond Hall’s name added to the national registry as well as added to the Alabama memorial. His family stated what an honor it was to be able to attend the ceremony. Deputy Hall’s son recalled being a little boy and riding and serving papers with his father and getting to have lunch with the deputies and how it was truly a part of his life. Deputy Hall’s grandson never had to opportunity to meet his grandfather, but wanted to be here to honor the sacrifice that he made.
Senator Keith Kelley spoke to the Calhoun Journal about how truly proud he is to have the State Law Enforcement Memorial here in Calhoun County. He also has had the experience of being the father of a law enforcement officer and seeing his son perform duties that he was trained for without hesitation. He shared that his son had gone through a portion of the academy with Piedmont Police Chief Nathan Johnson.
Chief Michael Barton with the JSU University Police Department spoke with the Calhoun Journal and said, “National Police Week and the Alabama Law Enforcement Memorial is meaningful opportunity and a time to reflect on the ultimate sacrifice the fallen officers have made to our state and country. It is also important during this time to honor the families of the fallen officers. As, a law enforcement officer, each death or injury is impactful; We never forget.” Chief Nick Bowles with the Anniston Police Department shared similar thoughts and added “The memorial is a somber reminder of the sacrifices that officers and their families have made to this noble profession.”
The memorial is the ending event for National Law Enforcement Appreciation Week. The week was also filled with support for current and retired law enforcement as the Alabama Law Enforcement Appreciation Foundation (ALEAF) provided lunch Monday through Thursday to over 500 law enforcement officers. In addition they provided over $30,000 worth of door prizes to law enforcement officers. Each agency also was able to recognize outstanding officers. The lunches are a time of fellowship and a way for community members and businesses to show their support of law enforcement and the work they do each day. Piedmont Police Chief Johnson shared his thoughts about the week as well, “I look forward to Police Week every year. People really show their support for law enforcement and it is refreshing to see. I am grateful for everyone that is affiliated with ALEAF and what they do for all of our officers in our area. It gives our departments a chance to come together in a great environment to fellowship and build our relationships. I am always honored to be able to attend the law enforcement memorial to show my respects to those that paid the ultimate sacrifice. It is important to always remember them and keep their memory alive for the impacts and sacrifices they made.”
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