Fallen law officers honored in Grand Forks ceremony
GRAND FORKS — With the twinkling lights of patrol cars and booming shots from a 21-gun salute forming a somber backdrop, Grand Forks and the surrounding communities honored law enforcement officers who died in the line of duty.
The Ninth Annual Northern Valley Police Week Memorial Service was held Tuesday at the Grand Forks County Courthouse.
East Grand Forks Mayor Steve Gander read a proclamation from himself and Grand Forks Mayor Mike Brown, naming May 14 Peace Officer Memorial Day.
So far in 2019, 42 law enforcement officers have died in the line of duty throughout the United States. There have been no local officer deaths this year, however.
The national number is a 33% reduction from the number of deaths this time last year, said Kevin Dean, former public information officer for the city. In 2018, there were 163 law enforcement officers who died in the line of duty nationwide. In addition, there were 159 documented police suicides that year.
Former Grand Forks County Sheriff Bob Rost was the keynote speaker Tuesday. He talked about the ultimate sacrifice law enforcement officers know they someday may have to make.
“They served and sacrificed for a purpose greater than themselves,” Rost said. “That is the true definition of a hero.”
Andy Schneider, Grand Forks County sheriff, read a list of law enforcement officers who have died in the line of duty. Names from law enforcement agencies all over the Red River Valley were read.
“Each name is attached to a person who had a family and loved ones,” said Grand Forks Chief of Police Mark Nelson.