published Friday, May 18th, 2012

Fifty-one Chattanooga area officers killed since 1879 memorialized

Staff Photo by Ashlee Culverhouse
Law enforcement officials salute during the presentation of colors on Thursday at the Law Enforcement Memorial on Market Street in downtown Chattanooga.
Staff Photo by Ashlee Culverhouse Law enforcement officials salute during the presentation of colors on Thursday at the Law Enforcement Memorial on Market Street in downtown Chattanooga.
Photo by Ashlee Culverhouse /Chattanooga Times Free Press.
  • Fallen officers memorial
    Hundreds of law enforcement officers and their families gathered for a memorial service to honor those who died in the line of duty Thursday.

SACRIFICE IN THE LINE OF DUTY

• Oct. 5, 2000: Chattanooga Police Officer Richard Alexander

• Sept. 6, 2001: Hamilton County Deputy Sheriff Donald K. Bond

• May 6, 2002: Chattanooga Police Officer Julie Jacks

• June 28, 2003: Red Bank Police Officer Gerald Warf

• June 5, 2008: Grundy County Deputy Sheriff Anthony Shane Tate

• Feb. 17, 2009: Sequatchie County Sheriff's Lt. David Gann

• April 2, 2011: Chattanooga Police Sgt. Tim Chapin

Source: Hamilton County Sheriff's Office

In dress uniforms, with black bands wrapped around gold badges, officers from as many as 26 local and state law enforcement agencies on Thursday honored comrades killed in the line of duty.

The ceremony in front of the Law Enforcement Memorial on Market Street remembered the end of watch for 51 area officers slain since 1879. Family members gathered for services as uniformed officers laid red roses at the foot of the memorial when each name was called.

"It's just a way for us to honor the men and women who have fallen in the line of duty," Chattanooga Police Chief Bobby Dodd said.

"It means a lot more in recent years. I've attended it since 1986 and some of the 1800s, the '20s, '30s, '40s, didn't mean as much," he said.

"But once you hear people's names and see them on a plaque that you actually worked with or come up through the department with, it's a lot more personal. It makes things a little more difficult," Dodd said.

The 2011 death of Sgt. Tim Chapin, whose family attended this year, is still on the minds of Chattanooga police officers. He came up through the ranks with Dodd and others. He died backing up his officers at a robbery call April 2, 2011.

Dodd and other officers recently returned from fallen officer ceremonies and Top Cop awards in Washington, D.C., where Chattanooga officer Lorin Johnston was honored.

"I spent the first part of the week in D.C. with thousands and thousands of cops and survivors and supporters. I was glad to get back to Chattanooga, but to have this on the date of my return -- it meant more than the one we saw up there because this one is more personal," Dodd said.

Last year, Chapin was among 72 officers killed in the line of duty nationwide and one of four in Tennessee. Of the nationwide total, 63 were killed with firearms. The South had the highest number of officer deaths at 29, according FBI statistics.

Peter Cove, chief executive of the Tennessee Public Safety Network and keynote speaker at the ceremony, addressed the toll officers endure on the job.

"All the officers that I have known ... love, laugh, cry, hurt and sometimes die too young. All suffer from police stress seen in a variety of emotional disorders and stress-related illnesses," he said. "Their job is often described 90 percent boredom and 10 percent sheer terror."

This year the sheriff's office added a blue laser light to project patterns on the memorial at night.

One is a thin blue line above the arch, which symbolizes law enforcement, and another shines on the face of the memorial, Hamilton County Sheriff Jim Hammond said.

The laser will be shown through Friday, he said.

"We hope to add this going forward for many years to come," Hammond said. "I stand before you here today facing hallowed ground. This piece of property and monument are dedicated to those who have fallen. It's one of the few pieces of property for the fallen that's on a main street."

Among those recognized this year were the late Sessions Court Judge Bob Moon and former County Executive Dalton Roberts, who helped secure the site for the memorial more than 20 years ago.

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