PORT ANGELES — Fallen peace officers were remembered in a ceremony at Veterans Memorial Park.
The Liberty Bell replica was rung 21 times Friday in memory of officers who made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty.
“Let the echo of the bell serve as a solemn and lasting reminder of your oath and as a reverent reflection upon our fallen brethren who have joined the eternal ranks as guardians on patrol for all of eternity,” said speaker Corey Lindsay of the U.S. Border Patrol station in Port Angeles.
“Stay safe and honor first.”
Nearly 100 law enforcement personnel, military veterans and community members attended the ceremony at the park on Lincoln Street next door to the county courthouse in Port Angeles.
The 23-minute service featured a flag line by the American Legion Riders, an invocation by pastor Tim Richards, the playing of bagpipes by Dr. Thomas McCurdy and a three-volley rifle salute by the Marine Corp League.
The annual Clallam County observance of National Peace Officers Memorial Day and National Police Week is organized and hosted by Sheriff Bill Benedict.
It is dedicated to the memories of Deputy Wally Davis of the Clallam County Sheriff’s Office and Officer Kristine Fairbanks of the U.S. Forest Service.
Davis was shot and killed after responding to a domestic disturbance call Aug. 5, 2000.
Fairbanks was shot and killed while investigating a suspicious vehicle on a Forest Service road Sept. 20, 2008.
“Today, we come together to honor, remember and reflect upon those fallen in the line of duty,” said Lindsay, a 15-year veteran of the Border Patrol.
“However the loss of our peers, while tragic, is not what binds us in commonality as we look towards the future,” he said.
”Rather, it is our shared understanding of community, common purpose, partnership and the willingness to mutually support each other in our unique and distinct law enforcement missions through any situation that irrevocably binds us.”
Lindsay and others spoke of the strong partnerships among the law enforcement agencies of the North Olympic Peninsula.
“We wear different uniforms and have some different jobs, but we have lot in common,” Port Angeles Police Chief Brian Smith said.
“On the Peninsula here, we’re particularly well suited to work well together, to support each other and work cooperatively. That’s one of the things we’re known for here on the Peninsula.”
There are 21,910 names inscribed on the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C., including 158 who died in the line of duty in 2018, Lindsay said.
“Unfortunately, anyone working in law enforcement long enough will see the name of a friend and colleague etched into that memorial,” Lindsay said.
Lindsay took a moment to remember a former Border Patrol colleague with whom he worked in Okanogan County before he was transferred to Port Angeles.
Donna Doss, 49, was struck and killed by a vehicle while assisting a Texas trooper on Interstate 20 on Feb. 2.
“For me, yet another friend will be added to that memorial next year,” Lindsay said.
The Washington State Law Enforcement Memorial in Olympia is inscribed with 317 names, Lindsay said.
Two on-duty officers have been killed in the state this year.
Deputy Ryan Thompson, 42, of the Kittitas County Sheriff’s Office was shot and killed while responding to a road rage incident March 19.
Deputy Justin DeRosier, 29, of the Cowlitz County Sheriff’s Office was shot and killed responding to a disabled mobile home April 14.
“Today, I ask that you remember, respect and learn from those who have given their lives, recognize their eternal contributions and honor their sacrifice,” Lindsay told the audience.
“Incorporate those lessons into your daily actions. Recognize and respect your spouses, children and the families of the fallen.
“Remember that you chose this calling,” Lindsay added.
“Your family and children did not. They don’t get a say in the daily risks, or the potential consequences. Know that your peers are here for you. We can and must look out for each other.”
Before reading a proclamation recognizing the week of May 12-18 as National Police Week, Clallam County Commissioner Mark Ozias thanked the assembled peace officers for their daily service.
“I am quite cognizant of the fact,” Ozias said, “that you never know what you’re going to face when you put on your uniform in the morning, when you make that stop, when you open that door.
“I would just like to say, as a representative of the citizens of Clallam County, that I am so impressed with your collective ability to maintain and promote an amazing sense of compassion and empathy for all of those you serve given the environment in which you work,” Ozias added.
“I find that to be incredibly commendable and I, as an elected representative of the citizens, appreciate that approach more than I can possibly express, and I want to thank you for that.”
Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56450, or at [email protected].