Honoring fallen police officers

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In honor of those who have lost their lives in the line of duty, the city of Westminster and the Westminster Police Department hosted a public memorial service honoring their memories and their dedication to law enforcement.

The memorial on May 9 at the Westminster Pubic Safety Center was also a public proclamation designating May 15 as Peace Officers Memorial Day and May 12-18 as Police Week.

On Oct. 1, 1962 President John F. Kennedy signed a bill designating the calendar week during which May 15 occurs as Police Week, recognizing the service of men and women in law enforcement.

During the memorial, police chief Lee Birk recognized the seven men and women from Colorado who were killed last year in the line of duty.

Those individuals were:

• Officer Jim Davis, Lakewood Police Department;

• Sergeant Mary Ricard, Colorado Department of Corrections;

• Captain Leide DeFusco, Pueblo County Sheriff’s Office;

• Officer Matthew Tyner, Colorado Springs Police Department;

• Officer Celena Hollis, Denver Police Department;

• Detective Jeremy Bitne, Englewood Police Department;

• Officer Kevin Denner, Littleton Police Department.

“At this time it is certainly appropriate to sit back and reflect a little bit on the critical role of law enforcement providing safety and security to communities across the nation and recognize the importance of law enforcement bringing justice to those how have been victimized by crime,” Birk said.

“We take great pride in the trust the community gives us in our roles to try and keep you safe.”

During the service Westminster mayor Nancy McNally thanked the men and women of the police department for their long hours dedicated to serving the community.

McNally noted, in particular, the tireless hours of determined work done during the Jessica Ridgeway case last October.

“We watched you with the Jessica Ridgeway case treat that as if she was your own daughter and you worked endlessly to get that to completion,” she said. “You are the very best and it’s been an honor to serve you for the last 12 years.”