City police honor fallen officers at annual ceremony
HUNTINGTON — The Huntington Police Department joined law enforcement agencies nationally to honor officers killed in the line of duty during a ceremony commemorating Peace Officers Memorial Day on Wednesday evening on 10th Street in front of HPD headquarters.
In 1962, President John F. Kennedy declared May 15 Peace Officers Memorial Day to honor federal, state and local law enforcement officers who died in the line of duty. Huntington’s ceremony was held in conjunction with the Fraternal Order of Police Gold Star Lodge 65.
“It is important that we remember as a community the sacrifices made by these men,” Huntington Police Chief Hank Dial said. “Today we rededicate ourselves to the mission of supporting the families of the fallen, which is forever our charge.”
The names of 43 police officers who died in the line of duty around the Tri-State region were read — the oldest account being Isaac Mitchell, 27, of the
Huntington Police Department, who died June 27, 1876. According to the Officer Down Memorial Page, Mitchell was shot and killed as he and a stable owner attempted to arrest a horse thief.
HPD also honored Oscar Christian, who died April 19, 1914; Charles Ball, Nov. 10, 1923; Charles Bricker, Jan. 7, 1940; Clemmie Curtis, Aug. 3, 1976; Paul Harmon, Dec. 14, 1981; and James Mills, Dec. 15, 1981.
The most recent death commemorated was Aaron Christian, 24, of the Chesapeake Police Department, who died Oct. 18, 2016, from injuries suffered when he crashed his cruiser.
U.S. Attorney Mike Stuart was the guest speaker at the ceremony. Stuart said not only is the day a reminder of the role of law enforcement to serve the community, but it is also a reminder of the sacrifices the families of law enforcement employees make.
“We owe them a debt of gratitude,” Stuart said. “We need to thank them and thank their families in every moment of every day for all that they do.”
Follow reporter Megan Osborne on Twitter and Facebook @megosborneHD.