IU Police Department hosted a Peace Officers Memorial Day service Wednesday afternoon at the IUPD-Bloomington station, honoring police officers who died in the line of duty.
IUPD partnered with the Fraternal Order of Police, which is a national group with local chapters of law enforcement officers. This local section of the group represents law agencies across Monroe and Brown counties and raises money for groups in the community such as officers in need or youth support programs.
The event was on Police Officers Memorial Day and in conjunction with National Police Week, which started May 12 and ends May 18.
Paul Post, president of the Monroe and Brown counties section of the FOP, said there was a strong turnout for the event.
“This is one of the larger events we’ve had in a long time, and we appreciate seeing a lot of people come out from the community,” Post said.
Post introduced the event and gave a small history of National Police Week and Peace Officers Memorial Day.
“We are all honoring those that have made the ultimate sacrifice,” Post said.
Local officers presented colors, and Monet Lahn, a student from Jackson Creek Middle School, performed the national anthem. Post welcomed the keynote speaker, Elizabeth Mitchell.
Mitchell is a local historian and the wife of retired Bloomington Police Department officer Jim Mitchell. She has been an active member of many organizations and local commissions throughout the community such as the Monroe County History Center.
In her address she discussed her experience as a family member of police officers as well as the importance of the local police force and the heroic acts the officers perform every day to protect the community. She also spoke about men and women who died in the line of duty.
Since 1928, seven police officers have lost their lives in Monroe County, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page website.
“You might say that record isn’t too bad,” Mitchell said. “But if I said one was lost in a senseless act, that is one too many.”
She said when officers lose their lives, their families feel their sacrifice and harbor the loss of their loved ones for the rest of their lives.
Following Mitchell’s speech, local police read eulogies for each police officer who died in the line of duty since 1928, including five from the Bloomington Police Department and two from the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office.
The ceremony closed with the playing of taps by Jeffrey Parker, a student from Bloomington High School North, and a performance of “Amazing Grace” by Dan Gillespie, a member of the Bloomington Fire Department.
“I want to leave you with these words,” Mitchell said. “For those people who do not appreciate the police and the job they do, try living in this world without the men and women who protect and serve.”
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