Four members of the UNCG Police Department have made the trip to Washington, DC, this week, representing the department in paying respect to officers killed in the line of duty.
Police Major Richard Bailey, Captain Steven DeDona, Lt. Ashley Westbrook, and Sgt. Hopkins are attending Police Week observances.
At least one officer from UNCG Police has made this trip annually since 2002, following the 9/11 attacks.
In our nation, 158 officers were killed in the line of duty last year, nine from our state.
Particularly meaningful each year is the candlelight vigil, which was held Monday night, Bailey says. “After the sun goes down, approximately 30-40 thousand people will gather on the Mall holding candles as every name of the officers that perished in the line of duty have their names read followed by the somber toll of a bell. Seeing the families, especially the children of the officer, gather in front of the crowd evokes many feelings; sadness, pride, and disappointment that an annual trip of this kind is necessary.”
Other events, he explained, include attending the famous Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, where various police honor guard units participate alongside the Old Guard in conducting the well-known ceremony.
They also pay their respects at the Police Memorial Wall, where the names of fallen officers are etched.
“The trip is at the same time sobering and gratifying.”
Information is at www.policeweek.org/