Gulfport PD honors fallen officers - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Gulfport PD honors fallen officers

The Gulfport Police Department held its annual memorial service for fallen officers Friday morning. (Photo source: WLOX) The Gulfport Police Department held its annual memorial service for fallen officers Friday morning. (Photo source: WLOX)
GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) -

During this police week, communities across the nation are showing their support for law enforcement. The Gulfport Police Department held its annual memorial service for fallen officers Friday morning.

Eight lives, each serving a purpose in the never-ending effort to protect the community. These eight men who died in the line of duty were memorialized at the Gulfport Police Department.

"This could be passed off as just another ceremony, but to never let go of those lives that were sacrificed for our city is a very important thing, and that's why we take the time every year to spend with our community and recognize those officers," said Police Chief Leonard Papania.

Papania has continued the tradition of inviting families and friends of fallen officers to honor them and their sacrifice. He said the ongoing relationships are something that he holds onto.

"It becomes family, and it becomes very tight knit. When we lose one, we don't let go," said Papania.

According to the chief, the eight lives lost have made huge impacts on the department. But, fortunately, no additional names have been added to the list since 2008, when Lt. Rob Curry died in the line of duty.

The police department carries Curry's name. His mother, Dorothy Gibson, makes a point to come to this ceremony every year.

"I really hope that more people in this country of ours will honor and respect our police officers, the men and women in blue. You just never know when you go to work if you're coming home or not," said Gibson.

The officers were honored with the laying of a wreath, a rifle salute, ‘Taps’, and a retelling of their stories to a crowd full of men and women who understood what their sacrifices meant.

"I think it's our duties as citizens to support our law enforcement, and this is a wonderful way to do it," said Nancy Hunter, a Gulfport citizen.

With an official end of watch, the memories of these men live on.

Copyright 2017 WLOX. All rights reserved.

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