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Slain Raleigh officer's daughter to Dallas police families: 'It gets easier'

Posted July 11

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— As Dallas grieves for the five police officers killed last week, Jessie Tesh says that the bad memories will dim over time, but the loss never goes away.

Tesh, whose father, Raleigh police Detective Paul Hale, was killed in the line of duty on July 11, 1997, was the guest of honor Monday as the Raleigh Police Department laid a wreath at the city's police memorial to mark the 19th anniversary of his death.

"They say time heals all. It doesn't heal. It gets easier," she said. "Lots of people are praying for (the Dallas officers and their families) and thinking about them. And life goes on – it's just different."

Tesh was 10 years old when Hale was shot to death in front of Ligon Middle School as he tried to question Kawame Mays, who was wanted in a shooting death Quarry Street. She said she doesn't remember too many details of that day, except that what she calls her "blue family" provided plenty of support then and in the weeks that followed as she went through the grieving process.

The wreath-laying ceremony was the first in a series that will formally memorialize the eight Raleigh police officers who've died in the line of duty since 1922. Each of the eight will be honored on the anniversary of his death, what fellow officers call their "end of watch."

"It's really important to have a service on the day and to have it right here at the memorial and lay a wreath so people never forget and the families can come out," said Dennis Lane of the Raleigh Police Memorial Foundation. "It's important to have people out to see it so that memory stays alive."

Raleigh Police Chief Cassandra Deck-Brown connected the deaths of police officers almost two decades apart during the service.

"When death happens and it involves the law enforcement community, whichever side the issue's on, we all have a heavy heart," Deck-Brown said. "That's something I think sometimes the community may not realize. We hurt every time there's someone hurt."

Scores of active and retired first responders attended the service, from the Raleigh Police Department, the Raleigh Fire Department and other agencies. Some of them had worked with Hale and talked about his dedication and his kindness.

Tesh brought her 3-year old son, Parker, to the service as well.

"He knows his grandpa was a police officer and that he's in heaven, that he's his special guardian angel," she said. "It's just a nice way to mark it. We haven't really done much in the past. It's just kind of been a day we dreaded. So, it's nice to come down here and see the people who loved him and really cared about him."

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