REMEMBERING THE FALLEN: Service pays tribute to law enforcement

Published 12:21 am Thursday, May 16, 2019

Alabama Supreme Court Justice Brady Mendheim Jr. said he likes to use the old-school term “peace officers” when referring to police officers and deputies, because they do so much more than enforce the law.

Mendheim, who was the guest speaker for Wednesday’s annual Law Enforcement Memorial Ceremony, said that police officers do more than just law enforcement.

“I like to say the old term peace officers,” Mendheim said. “Because you guys do more than just law enforcement, arresting people and putting them in jail. Sure, that is part of it, but daily what you are doing is far more than that and I hope the public understands that. Over a certain time, law enforcement officers are called upon to be a doctor, a lawyer, a judge even, a nurse, a counselor, a pastor, a friend to someone in need, a firefighter, a father or mother to someone and a mechanic. It is truly a public calling and you have to have the heart to do the kind of work that you all do.” 

Prior to being elected to the Alabama Supreme Court, Mendheim spent 18 years as a district and circuit judge for Henry and Houston Counties, and was an assistant district attorney for seven years.

Andalusia Police Chief Paul Hudson said that the annual is not only a day to memorialize the lives lost, but to honor the family of those fallen officers.

“We are joined here today to honor their courage,” Hudson said. “But also to fill your hearts with gratitude for the sacrifice that you all have made. Unlike most careers, the brave men and women who choose a life of law enforcement know that one day they may be called to lay their life down in the line of duty. Those that we honor today made that choice willingly. They served and sacrificed for a purpose far greater than themselves. There is no better definition, in my opinion, of a hero. I hope that the words that are sung, spoke and heard today will serve as a general reminder that even though they are no longer here in their earthly bodies, they will forever remain in our hearts.”

Hudson addressed the officers that were in attendance at the ceremony and told them to wear their badge with pride, honor and integrity.

“Stand proud of the oath that you took to protect and serve,” Hudson said. “Do you due diligence to remain steadfast. Provide the best possible service to your community. The brotherhood of law enforcement is reportedly lost. Help bring it back. Love your fellow officers. Treat them with the same respect that you would want in return. These are the people that would carry you and your family through the toughest of times. I want you to honor the lives of your fallen colleagues. Give as much as yourself to your loved ones as you give to your career everyday. I know and you all know that without their love and support, your service would not be possible.”

He then addressed the families of law enforcement officers and said that they needed to be the shoulder that they need.

“Be the shoulder they need, the listening ear, the one who understands and willingly accepts that the closing of the door and the sound of the Velcro may be the only conversation that you have for the day or night,” Hudson said. “As family of law enforcement gather here today, we all know that every I love you shared could be the very last one. I’d like to say thank you all for the sacrifices and the job you do and the job that you will continue to do. At APD, we will always have your six.”

Other speakers included Mayor Earl Johnson, Sheriff Blake Turman, Circuit Judge Ben Bowden, and OPD Chief Kevin Chance.