Wake County honors fallen officers

Posted May 12, 2009 11:28 a.m. EDT
Updated May 12, 2009 4:17 p.m. EDT

— Wake County law enforcement officers who lost their lives in the line of duty were remembered Tuesday in a public ceremony in downtown Raleigh.

Nineteen fallen officers from the Morrisville Police Department, North Carolina Highway Patrol, Raleigh Police Department, Wake Forest Police Department and the Wake County Sheriff's Office have died on duty since 1922.

Raleigh police detective Tom Crabtree was the first officer killed on Sept. 1, 1922. His now-96-year-old son, 1st Sgt. Tom Crabtree Jr. was among those in attendance.

"Our gathering here today honors our commitment to never forget the sacrifice so many have made for us all," Raleigh Police Chief Harry Dolan told a crowd outside the Progress Energy Performing Arts Center in Downtown Raleigh.

The ceremony was marked by a 21-gun salute and a moment of silence for each officer. Sheriff Donnie Harrison read the name of each fallen officer and roses were placed on wreaths in their honor.

"We're a big family. We don't forget each other," Harrison told officers' family members in attendance. "Don't ever think your loved ones will be forgotten."

"You're heroes to us. You protect us, serve us, you risk your lives every day," Raleigh attorney John C. Dorsey told officers. "Thank you for a job well done."

Dorsey, the keynote speaker at Tuesday's remembrance, serves as secretary-treasurer of the 200 Club of Wake County, a volunteer nonprofit organization, which raises money to provide benefits to family members of fallen officers. It does not accept contributions from public safety officers.

Tuesday's ceremony coincided with National Law Enforcement Memorial Week (May 10-16), which observes the service and sacrifice of all American law enforcement officers.