The Wilmington Police Department held it’s annual WPD Law Enforcement Memorial Service, to honor officers who have died in the line of duty. With the loss of Officer Richard Matthews just three months ago, today’s ceremony was especially poignant.
Nine roses symbolized the dedication and passion of those who’ve died wearing a badge, eight from the Wilmington Police Department and one for officers who have died across the state.
WPD officers and family of the fallen gathered Thursday morning to reflect on those they have lost.
One by one, the roll call of the names of fallen Wilmington officers were called and one by one, officers joined by family members added a rose to a memorial wreath.
Rain during the ceremony only added to the outpouring of emotion.
“The eight officers who died in the line of duty deserve this. We should always remember the sacrifice they and more importantly their families have made over the years,” said WPD Chief Ralph Evangelous.
“This is the one time of year where we get to remember our officers that are killed in the line of duty,” added Sgt. Thomas Tilmon.
For many, the ceremony was especially painful. The WPD lost one of their own just three months ago.
Officer Richard Matthews died when he crashed his patrol car, while responding as back up to another officer.
The family of Officer Christopher Williams hasn’t forgotten. He died in 2006 from injuries he suffered during training.
“He loved what he did and I think it brings some closure,” said Williams’ sister Ja’leen Solomon.
“It’s bitter sweet, I don’t want to be here…I’d rather him be here. There is nothing else I can tell you, I miss him,” added Williams’ brother Delon Solomon.
This annual WPD Law Enforcement Memorial Service is part of National Police Week, a tribute to fallen officers will also be held tomorrow in our nation’s capital.