|Sheriff's deputies killed in line of duty honored
THE MID-COUNTY MEMO
Those sounds and sights were actually part of the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office Memorial Service, an annual ceremony honoring those who have died in the line of duty.
The service is always held during National Police Week, this year from May 9-15, in the midst of National Law Enforcement Month.
We do this to honor and remember the officers who have been killed or died in the line of duty, Multnomah County Deputy Barret Taylor said. It's our message to the public and the family of the deceased to say 'We are here remembering your sons and are actively working to memorialize them.'
The names of those remembered, 11 in total, are permanently recorded on a plaque outside the Sheriff's Office. The dates of death of these men are are in raised letter engraving starting with Chief Criminal Deputy Robert Phillips, who was killed Nov. 21, 1917, in a gun battle, and ending with Deputy Irv L. Burkett, who died Aug. 21, 2003, as a result of injuries received during a jail break attempt in 1982.
Relatives of Reserve Sergeant Scott Collins and Reserve Deputy Mark Whitehead were present at the ceremony. Both men were killed on patrol Feb. 26, 1993, while in their patrol car; a drunk driver on I-84 struck them.
Collins' mother, Geri Collins, said she and her family have been attending the memorial service since the year her son was killed.
She called the ceremony a comfort, as well as a low-key, nice gathering.
Chaplain Ed Stelle reached out to family members of those killed by recognizing the sacrifice they surrender when their relative goes into law enforcement.
For these men it was just another day on the job, Stelle said, but something happened. Something went wrong and they lost their lives.
Sheriff Daniel Staton said that as part of regular training members of the Sheriff's Office are taught how to protect themselves and prepare for the unexpected. However, there are some situations no one can see coming. And lives, he said, are irreplaceable.
You never move past it, Staton said. Collins and Whitehead - I worked with them; I was working the night they died - you don't forget.
To support the memory of those fallen, Staton requested attendance of the Sheriff's Office Honor Guard, which is present at funerals, public events and special ceremonies.
I take a lot of pride in our Honor Guard, Staton said.
Deputy Jon Conway said having the Honor Guard travel to funerals is an unfortunate reality, but one that shows the strength of the Sheriff's Office.
We have gone all over, Conway said. Unfortunately, we have done a lot of trips to Washington and Idaho lately.
It's a chance to get together and offer our support, Conway continued. We represent the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office in a positive way.
Lieutenant Mary Lindstrand said being a member of the Honor Guard is indeed an honor.
Last month, the Honor Guard travelled to Washington, D.C., taking part in national events and ceremonies.
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