AUGUSTA – Parents, wives and children of fallen police officers came from around Maine on Thursday for the annual ceremony at the state’s Law Enforcement Memorial.
The memorial’s four large granite tablets hold the names of 78 law enforcement officers who have died in the line of duty.
“These names are a visual reminder forever,” Presque Isle Police Chief Naldo Gagnon told the audience. “You may take great pride knowing your loved one is here for all of us.”
The service began with a procession by state police officers, Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife wardens, county sheriff’s departments, municipal police and cadets at the Maine Criminal Justice Academy in Vassalboro.
Also in attendance were state legislators and Gov. John Baldacci.
Baldacci spoke of the daily risks to law enforcement officers, recalling how police and other public safety personnel were the first responders on Sept. 11, 2001.
Erla Merry, whose 28-year-old son Thomas was killed in the line of duty, said she has not missed the observance since the police memorial was dedicated in 1991.
Charles Jackson, retired chief of the Winthrop Police Department, quoted from the Gettysburg Address, saying, “These dead shall not have died in vain.”
He said he never wants to see another name carved into the memorial, though two vertical surfaces are in place to receive names of other men and women who may die on duty in the coming years.
At least one more name will be added soon. Maurice Beane was a constable in Passadumkeag who was shot to death in 1913 while trying to arrest a man accused of fraud. Investigators only recently discovered the incident while checking old records.