Hundreds of law enforcement officers, their families and other supporters gathered for the annual Kentucky Law Enforcement Memorial Ceremony Wednesday.
The event featured the customary 21-gun salute and the playing of taps.
The ceremony during Police Officers’ Memorial Week is held to honor those who have given their lives in service to their fellow citizens.
Keynote speaker for this year’s service at the Law Enforcement Memorial on the campus of Eastern Kentucky University was Lieutenant Governor Jenean Hampton.
Hampton says, more than an official duty, attending and speaking at this event were personally important to her, "None of us are perfect, however I know they stand in the gap between those of us who obey the law and those of us who don't." The Lieutenant Governor affirmed that she appreciates the service of law enforcement officers.
Hampton says, one of her first official duties, even before she was sworn into office, was to attend services for slain Richmond officer Daniel Ellis.
"I was first of all amazed by the outpouring of support from the law enforcement community as well as the general public."
The Lieutenant Governor says she especially appreciates the sacrifices of the families of law enforcement officers.
Serving as “Master of Ceremonies” for the event outside the criminal justice training center on the Eastern Kentucky University campus was Drexel Neal.
The Executive Director of the Kentucky Law Enforcement Memorial Foundation says, in addition to the memorial site, the organization provides scholarships for officer training as well as emergency assistance for police families in crisis.
“We provide the death benefits, which is $7500 to each family member. We get it to them almost immediately so they’ll have money to live on until the insurance catches up.”
The foundation has maintained the memorial site on the EKU campus since the late 1990’s.
Since no Kentucky officers died in the line of duty in 2016, this year’s memorial ceremony recognized the service and sacrifice of officers from years past, including one who was killed in 1883.
Louisville officer Nick Rodman, who was killed in an auto accident this year, was also honored during Wednesday's ceremony.