BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — The Mountain Brook Police Department Motor Scout Unit traveled to the nation’s capital this week to honor fallen officers, including three of their own colleagues.
Each year, the Annual Peace Officers Memorial Service is held to officers killed in the line of duty; MBPD’s Motor Scout Unit is currently in DC at the memorial, paying respects to fallen officers across the nation, including three officers from MBPD.
A list of names of the fallen officers will also be read in honor of their sacrifice. This is the 40th year the memorial has occurred.
This year 356 police officers have died in the line of duty. Nine of those officers are from Alabama police departments.
Each year families of the fallen officers have a chance to travel to Washington, D.C. for the annual Peace Officers Memorial Service. This time three police officers from the Mountain Brook Police Department are there right now to help families honor their fallen loved ones.
“It’s one of those that you just can’t believe you’re part of, you know?” Sgt. Jay Loring said. “Taking into consideration why we’re here and who all has put effort into getting us here, it is incredible that we have this opportunity.”
Loring said the F.O.P. tries to send one officer from the department each year – but Chief Ted Cook was able to send their entire Motor Scout Unit.
“We carry forward the responsibility to protect and to serve as they did every single day,” Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas said.
In order to get these families to events all week long – the Mountain Brook officers join the ceremonial units to escort them from place to place.
“We’re to make sure that nobody comes back in, as far as traffic, comes back in front of the buses,” Loring said. “We just keep moving until we get them to where they need to be.”
Because the chance to be there for the families is part of the healing process.
“I don’t want any of our families to have to deal with that,” Loring said, “To understand how that really impacts a family and the police department, I’m very fortunate I haven’t had to deal with that yet and I hope that I never do.”
The Mountain Brook Police officers taking time to recognize their own, by getting the pencil etchings of the three heroes from their department who sacrificed their lives to protect the community.
The officers arrived in D.C. on Monday and will be coming back home Sunday morning. The department says it plans to try and send officers every year to pay tribute.
Mountain Brook Police lost Sgt. Freddie Jackson Harp on August 6, 1973; Officer George Todd Herring on September 19, 1987; and Officer Theron Houlditch on December 14, 1990 in the line of duty. Every year on the anniversary of their deaths, the department places a memorial wreath at its Fallen Police Memorial statue and has all flags flown at half-mast.