People honor fallen officers at special ceremony

KEARNEY, Neb. (KSNB) - Community members and law enforcement agencies come together in Kearney Wednesday to honor the men and women who lost their lives in the line of duty.

It's National Police Week, and also Peace Officer Memorial Day.

To recognize the day, the Kearney Police Department and Buffalo County Sheriff's Department hosted a Police Memorial Ceremony Wednesday outside the Law Enforcement Center.

"Most of us enter into this profession to try and make a difference in our communities," said Chief Brain Waugh, Kearney Police Department. "Part of that is that you may lose your life in the line of duty."

A police and deputy honor guard began with a ceremonial lowering of the flag. They then placed a wreath at the bottom of the flag pole to represent the loss of officers and deputies across the country as taps rang out.

Officers, deputies and community members stood around police and sheriff cars to observe the ceremony.

So far this year, 42 law enforcement officers have died in the line of duty.

"We do a job that's necessary. We do a job that's dangerous. We do a job that specifically to Kearney that I'm speaking for today, we do one that I think we make an impact in the community, and we can't do that without the support of the community," Chief Waugh said.

There will be 371 names added to the National Law Enforcement Officer Memorial this year. Those names show all the lives lost in 2018.

American Legion riders held flags to show their support at the ceremony.

"Law enforcement is very underappreciated for what they do. I wouldn't want the job," said Mark Dissmeyer, chaplain of the Kearney American Legion Riders. "I couldn't do the job. I'm appreciative of those guys doing that job, and helping keep everybody safe and protected."

Bag pipes played to signify bravery, pride and honor.

There's 55 sworn officers in KPD, most of which attended the ceremony. One woman there is friends with several of them.

"They're faced with a lot of things that we can't even imagine or that we don't think about," Jennifer Beck said. "It's important to just think about, just to remember that when you see an officer to thank them and also thank their family."

There'll be a statewide ceremony to honor those who lost their lives in the line of duty.

It'll be at 10 a.m. Friday at the Nebraska Law Enforcement Memorial, 409 E. Fonner Park Rd, Grand Island.