Law enforcement families find comfort, peace in ceremony to remember the fallen
In Raleigh Monday, families, friends and fellow law enforcement officers gathered for the 11th annual Wake County Law Enforcement Memorial Ceremony to remember those lost in the line of duty.
Raleigh Chief of Police Cassandra Deck-Brown was there for the ceremony at the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts. Wake County Sheriff Gerald Baker was there. The commander of the North Carolina State Highway Patrol, Colonel Glenn McNeill, was there and served as the keynote speaker.
And emotions ran high as bells tolled for each of the fallen.
For Ronda Holden, that bell reminds her of a phone call on Aug. 4, 1995. Her sister, Raleigh police Officer Denise Holden had just finished her first year on the job when she crashed her patrol car on the way to help another officer.
“Coming here every year, it gives us comfort and peace,” Ronda Holden said.
At the ceremony the notes of Taps took Trudy Paul back to the piercing pitch of sirens that signified the wreck that claimed her son.
On Sept. 10, 2002, Charles Paul, a Raleigh motorcycle officer, was chasing a speeding driver on Interstate 40 when he lost control of his bike. He was the last Raleigh police officer killed in the line of duty.
“He was my only child,” Trudy Paul said. “The night I pinned his badge on, I was so proud. And the day he got killed, it like to have killed me.”
Charles Paul left behind a 14-month-old daughter. She’ll be graduating from high school next month.
Since 1922, 19 law enforcement officers in Wake County have been killed on the job.
“It’s just an honor that they chose this profession, not knowing whether they’re going to come home at night, but they do it because of their dedication and the oath that they took,” Ronda Holden said.
In January, when Raleigh policeman Charles Ainsworth was shot while on duty, Trudy Paul said, “I cried and cried and cried.” Then she called Ainsworth’s father.
Ainsworth survived and is on the long road to recovery. In March, Ainsworth’s wife told WRAL News that doctors have called his progress remarkable. He was released from the hospital last month.