Fallen Officers Remembered In Several Coast Ceremonies

During National Law Enforcement Week, communities across the country pause to salute the men and women who wear the uniform, and to make sure we don't forget those who died in the line of duty.

In Jackson County, family, friends and fellow officers gathered to remember Moss Point Patrolman Larry Lee and others who have fallen in the line of duty. Patrolman Lee was killed in October when he was struck by a fleeing suspect's car.

Though the pain of losing a loved one doesn't go away, his family knows he gave his life serving a community he loved.

"Larry was dedicated to his work. Larry was dedicated to his community. Larry tried to help people and all he ever wanted to be was a police officer," Lee's mother Malta said.

Lee was one of 23 Gulf Coast officers killed in the line of duty in the past 13 years. Two of those officers protected the citizens of Hancock County. Seven others once served the City of Gulfport.

Three weeks before the 24th anniversary of Officer Buford Dedeaux's murder, his widow came to remember him and the other Gulfport officers who died in the line of duty.

"I think everybody should remember that not only my husband but lots of other police officers have given their lives in the line of duty and I don't think we should forget any of them," Evelyn Bonvillain said.

The names of Gulfport's fallen law enforcers are forever etched in a granite memorial. Thursday's ceremony at the Gulfport Police Department honored their memory.

"These officers and their families paid the ultimate sacrifice doing a job they believed in and they loved and our hearts will always remember them. To the officers that are here, thank you for the jobs that you do everyday. Thank you for taking the courage and the pride to pin on the badge and protect our citizens. God bless each one of you," Gulfport Police Chief Wayne Payne said.

The three law enforcement agencies in Hancock County came together too to pay tribute to officers and remember the two who made the ultimate sacrifice. Reverend Nathan Barber remembered the families as well.

"I pray for their families, wives and children who have to be a part of a very difficult lifestyle many times because of what they're required to do for us. Father we call on our law enforcement personnel to do so much," Rev. Barber said.

The names of 377 slain officers were added this past Tuesday to the National Police Memorial in Washington, D.C. Five of them were from Mississippi, including Gulfport Officer Walter Richardson who died in December, 1900.