MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WIAT) — State leaders, family members and fellow law enforcement officers paid tribute to the 12 Alabama officers lost in the line of duty in 2021.

One by one, each member of law enforcement was recognized. Loved ones pinned flowers on a display in memory, and state leaders spoke about their sacrifice.

“They dedicated themselves to the idea of service above self, and in the process they made an everlasting difference in our state,” Gov. Kay Ivey said.

Of the 12 deaths, eight were due to COVID-19, three, gunfire; and one, drowning. Alabama Fraternal Order of Police President Everette Johnson says the memorial is an opportunity to remember the families who lost someone.

“They’ve lost a husband, a son, a father, and we want to make sure those families are recognized and they know our community supports them,” Johnson said.

Those from the Attorney General’s Office commented that it’s a particularly difficult time to be in law enforcement.

“Against this backdrop of heroic service and sacrifice, our country has seemingly turned its back on those who bravely stand watch in the dead of night,” Chief Deputy AG Clay Crenshaw said.

Johnson says he wants the public to know that police are trying to protect people.

“We’re just here trying to do what’s right to make sure our families are safe and our communities are safe,” Johnson said.

The event ended with a prayer and the playing of Taps.

According to the Officer Down Memorial Page, so far in 2022, Alabama has lost six officers, with all but one due to COVID.