Police and the community are reflecting on officers who have paid the ultimate sacrifice.
The ceremony in Perry Square on Wednesday morning was part of memorial observances across the country during Police Week.
Erie Police Sgt. Ken Kensill is president of the Erie Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #7. He said, “This day is not only to remember those officer who paid the ultimate sacrifice and gave up their lives in the line of duty to protect the citizen of this city and this county, but also let’s up remember the dangers of this job.”
Erie Police and law enforcement from area departments are honoring officers who’ve fallen in the line of duty. The Fraternal Order of Police, of both of the city and county, paid tribute to the 11 City of Erie police officers killed in the line of duty, and seven fallen officers from other agencies across Erie County.
Erie County Sheriff John Loomis said, “Anybody that’s wearing a uniform is as human as they are, and any man or woman that dons a uniform that goes to work, expects to get home to their families.”
Officials hope that by helping to forge trust in the community, interactions between police and residents will become safer.
Mayor Joe Schember said, “If we can build that kind of relationship with the community, there’s less threat to either side, really. We’ll have less deaths in Erie as a result of violence.”
It is a goal that Schember’s administration is striving for with the Strengthening Police and Community Partnerships program.
Schember said, “We want to get police and members of, particularly, the minority community–frankly–together to get to know each other and earn that mutual respect.”
Kensill adds, “We have great officers, and we’re here to protect and provide security for the City of Erie.”
In 2017, there were 129 law enforcement deaths across the nation. The ceremony in Erie came a day after the country observed Peace Officers Memorial Day.
Police Week runs through Saturday.