ANOKA, Minn. — In its 150 plus years of history seven peace officers have been killed in the line of duty in Anoka County. Those officers plus the 173 that were killed across the nation in 2011 were honored at a memorial service this week. The memorial service focused on the officers who made the ultimate sacrifice as well as the duty of those whom they died to protect, a duty to never forget those who put their lives on the line each and every day to keep us all safe.
2011 was an especially violent year, “for the first time ever more officers were killed in firearms related incidents than in traffic incidents” said Anoka County Sheriff James Stuart. The 173 officers who were killed in the line of duty in 2011 marks a 42% increase over 2009.
The purpose of ceremonies like this, which take place this week all across the country, is to take time to pause, reflect, and remember. “Every death is horrific” said Stuart “We must never forget them…they gave everything” said retired Lino Lake Police Sergeant Bill Hammes who gave the keynote address at the memorial service.
Knowing their profession is dangerous peace officers are often asked why they put themselves into harms way. According to Hammes for many it is a call to serve that they can not ignore.
It has been nearly seven years since the last time an Anoka County officer was killed in the line of duty. In September of 2005 Officer Shawn Silvera of the Lino Lakes Police Department was killed when he was hit by a suspect’s vehicle during a high speed chase.
2012 marks the 50th anniversary of the first Peace Officer Memorial Day – and sadly it will not be the last.