Each May, for nearly three decades now, the Fraternal Order of Police Auxiliary, Jerrard F. Young Lodge D.C. #1, has sponsored a ceremony to honor law enforcement officers from the region who have died in the line of duty. That tradition continued Friday, as five officers who died over last year were remembered by law enforcement colleagues, family members and friends.
A steady rain forced the ceremony inside, to the former DC Council Chambers in One Judiciary Square, from its traditional location at the Washington Area Law Enforcement Memorial Fountain outside Metropolitan Police Headquarters in Northwest, DC. But the strong feelings of love and admiration for the fallen officers could not be doused.
Terrica Gibson, sister of MPD Master Patrol Officer Brian Gibson, was the guest speaker. MPO Gibson was shot and killed on February 5, 1997, as he sat in his police cruiser in Northwest DC. The assailant had been thrown out of a nearby nightclub and, by his own admission, just wanted to kill a cop. Speaking eloquently of the family of law enforcement survivors who are “connected by fate,” Terrica said “I have received so much from this extended family” and assured the recent survivors that she and others will continue to give back to those “embarking on this journey that wasn’t of our own choosing.”
Each of the five officers who died in the past year was then remembered with special tributes by officials in their departments. The five officers are Officer Ernest Ricks III, MPD, EOW: May 17, 1989; Officer Wayne Pitt, MPD, EOW: April 10, 2007; Officer Luke Hoffman, Montgomery County PD, EOW: April 25, 2007; Corporal Scott Wheeler, Howard County PD, EOW: June 18, 2007; Corporal Courtney Brooks, Maryland Transportation Authority PD, EOW: January 1, 2008.
In addition, 92 other local, state and federal officers from the region who died in the line of duty in previous years were remembered during the Roll Call of Heroes. Their names were read aloud and carnations placed in a vase in honor of their service. With the rain still falling, members of the FOP Auxiliary later placed the flowers at the Memorial Fountain.
This was the 29th Annual Memorial Service for Law Enforcement Officers sponsored by the Lodge #1 Auxiliary.