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Police honor the fallen Tuesday

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By Tris DeRoma

The Los Alamos Police Department joined other law enforcement departments across the nation Tuesday in honoring the officers who were killed in the line of duty. 

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“Thank you for coming today to help us honor those who have died in the line of duty; to remember their sacrifice and the sacrifice of their families,” LAPD Chief Dino Sgambellone said to the crowd gathered out in front of the Los Alamos County Justice Center. 

About 80 people attended the ceremony, which included members of the community and town officials.

“I think it’s appropriate event to have us focus on the sacrifice that the officers and their families offered to make on behalf of our community. Of course, we hope that they are safe through the conduct of their duties,” Los Alamos County Council Chairman David Izraelevitz said.

According to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund’s 2017 preliminary Law Enforcement Fatalities Report, 128 federal, state, local, tribal and territorial officers, including 12 correctional officers died in the line of duty. Two of those officers were from New Mexico. They were Lea County Sheriff Stephen Lawrence Ackerman and Navajo Division of Public Safety Officer Houston James Largo. Ackerman was killed in a single vehicle crash Jan. 17. Largo died March 12 after being shot responding to a domestic disturbance. 

Sgambellone also noted that many officers are being killed in ambushes,
“a trend that has unfortunately continued into 2018,” Sgambellone said. “As of this morning, 53 officers have been killed in the line of duty this year.”

Candidates for public office attended and participated in the carnation ceremony in remembrance of the fallen. 

“I’ve served many years in the Air Force and then for many years in emergency response in regards to nuclear weapons. I respect all first responders, whether it’s wartime, peacetime. When you’re a first responder, anything can happen and some people give up their lives,” state representative candidate and County Councilor Pete Sheehey said. “We owe them all a great debt of respect working 24/7 to keep us safe.”

Sheehey, a Democrat, is campaigning to be the next representative of the 43rd District, as is County Councilor Christine Chandler.

“It is a privilege for this community to have such a professional competent, dedicated police force and emergency response team. We’re very fortunate,” Chandler said.

After the ceremony, volunteers put blue tape across the rear windows of attendees’ cars that requested it. The tape represents the symbolic “thin blue line” of protection police officers offers to society.