Gulfport Remembers Fallen Officers - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

05/13/04

Gulfport Remembers Fallen Officers

Communities across America paused Thursday to remember fallen police officers.

Nationwide, 146 law enforcement officers were killed in the line of duty last year, including one in Mississippi.

Gulfport was among the many cities hosting special memorial services.

Police officers call it the "thin blue line". They put their lives at risk for the sake and safety of others.

Thursday morning, a community gathered to remember seven fallen officers whose names are engraved on a monument just outside the Gulfport police station downtown.

They lowered the flag to half staff. And took time to remember those who sacrificed their lives for public safety.

Mitzie Arceneaux is with the Gulfport Police Department.

"Thank you for helping us honor our fallen heroes today," she told the group.

Those who wear the uniform understand the sacrifice. Gulfport's fire chief reminded his police officer brothers to never forget the importance of the everyday work they do.

"Never forget that when that lady calls you at two o'clock in the morning, when her husband's beating her up, you're the only hope that she has that the pain's going to stop. That the situation is going to change for the better," said Chief Pat Sullivan.

Seven Gulfport officers have lost their lives in the line of duty from 1900 to 1979.

"These courageous officers served their community. And served them well," said Gulfport police chief, Steve Barnes.

Kay Pearcey clutched a single red rose and listened solemnly as the police chief described that painful night 25 years ago when her daddy was killed.

"While asking the individual to empty a small bag he was carrying, the individual produced a .25 caliber hand gun and shot Officer Dedeaux twice," said Chief Barnes.

Pearcey was twelve and a half years old when the overnight phone call delivered the dreadful news.

"It's very important that they remember the police officers that go out there and serve every day to protect us," she said.

Never forget. That's the point of Peace Officers Memorial Day.

"We need to honor their memory. We need to honor their families. And we need to honor their memory by doing the right thing," Chief Sullivan said.

So far this year, 56 police officers have been killed in the line of duty, including one from Mississippi.

By Steve Phillips

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