COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) – National Police Week is a time to reflect on, support and honor the service of law enforcement officers. In Columbus, the community gathered for the “2022 Peace Officers’ Memorial Service” to memorialize Georgia and Alabama officers who paid the ultimate sacrifice. 

The memorial was held by the Fraternal Order of Police Auxiliary at the Columbus Public Library. Speakers included Columbus Mayor Skip Henderson, Columbus Police Chief Freddie Blackmon and Muscogee County Sheriff Greg Countryman. Over 50 law enforcement agencies across Georgia and Alabama were recognized in the roll call of fallen officers. 

Families and colleagues of the 133 fallen officers and seven canine officers placed flowers into a vase. By the end of the ceremony, those flowers added up to a bouquet – a sobering reminder of how many heroes’ lives ended too soon. 

Chief Blackmon says there was an increase in those killed in the line of duty from 2020 through 2021. He attributes that increase to COVID-19 and violence committed against law enforcement officers throughout the nation. 

In his speech, Chief Blackmon recited John 15:13, “Greater love has no one than this: that someone lay down his life for his friends.” He added that the loved ones of the fallen will always have the Columbus Police Department to lean on. 

“For the family members and friends of our heroes, they always have their ‘blue family’ as we refer to in law enforcement,” Chief Blackmon  said. “We will be family forever and they will never be forgotten and we’ll always be there to support the family and friends of our heroes.”