May 16, 2007
People in communities across the country this week gave thanks to police officers, and remembered those who have died in the line of duty.
The annual nationwide events are part of National Police Memorial Week.
But this year's memorial in Charlottesville was very special, because an officer lost in Virginia last year was one with local ties.
"These names that are read, these are real people, people that live in your community. They may have been a part of your church or synagogue. They had real lives, and they lost their lives serving their community," said Lt. James Bond of the Albemarle County Police Department.
In 2006, ten police officers died in the line of duty in Virginia. One was Eric Sutphin. He was killed during the search for an escaped prisoner in August of 2006 in Blacksburg.
But Sutphin had a close connection to the Charlottesville area. Before joining the force in Montgomery County, Virginia, he was an officer with the City of Charlottesville and with Albemarle County.
"He was very well-liked by the officers because he was a good police officer," said Bond. "Off the job, he was a very easygoing person, easy to get along with. In fact, he was a very close friend of mine, and we did a lot of things off the job."
"I knew him, not professionally, I knew him through a mutual hobby. We were good friends.," explained Bob Talbott, who lives in Fluvanna County. "It brought it home to me what these guys do everyday."
While Wednesday evening was a chance to pay tribute to the fallen officers, it was also an opportunity to give thanks to those who are living, who dedicate their lives to protecting their communities everyday.
"It's all the time they give from their families. It's all the extra stuff that they do for their community, and sometimes we forget that," said Talbott. "It's good to take a little extra time to think about it."
Wednesday's event also featured music and special readings.
There were dozens of officers there from a number of police and sheriff's departments in the area, as well as the state police.
National Police Memorial Week began in 1962 when it was established by Congress and President John F. Kennedy.