The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Local News

May 16, 2013

Fallen officers to be honored today

Nine names are etched on a law enforcement memorial in the northwestern lawn outside the Limestone County Courthouse.

Each name contains a story with a tragic ending, but the stories remind us they’re of those willing to protect and serve the community.

One officer was transporting blood when injuries from a wreck led to his death. Another attempted to chase his shooter despite sustaining three gunshot wounds. He collapsed and died.

In honor of each of the nine officers who died in the line of duty, the Athens Police Department will hold a memorial service at 5 p.m. today at the Limestone County Law Enforcement Memorial. The service is in recognition of May 12-18 being National Police Week.

“We will honor the end of watch for those nine men by reading their names,” Police Chief Floyd Johnson said.

Michelle Russell Lopez, the widow of Sgt. Larry Russell, will serve as the guest speaker.

Athens Police Honor Guard will lay a wreath at the memorial.

All members of law enforcement and the community are invited to attend.

“This is a way to thank those who are serving and have served, and to remember those who gave their life protecting their community,” Johnson said.

Flags for fallen officers

Athens Police are working on a project to further honor those who gave their lives in the line of duty. Six of the names on the memorial worked for Athens Police.

Russell and officer Tony Mims, who were killed by a gunman in Jan. 2004, have flagpoles and American flags on their gravesites, but the other four officers do not. However,  the department recently held a golf tournament to raise money to purchase flag poles for the other four graves.

“Woodmen of the World donated the four flags to us, and we raised enough money to buy the flag poles, so now we are working on getting the flags on the graves,” Johnson said.

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