GALLIPOLIS — Gallipolis city officials and dignitaries gathered Friday morning to remember the services and sacrifices of local law enforcement.
Gallipolis Officer Mark Still received the city’s Officer of the Year award from Gallipolis Police Chief Jeff Boyer. Afterward, City Commission President Tony Gallagher announced the commission’s recognition of “Peace Officer’s Memorial Day.”
“Whereas, the Congress and the President of the United States have designated May 15 as Peace Officer’s Memorial day and the week in which May 15 falls as National Police Week. Whereas, the members of the law enforcement agency of Gallipolis, Ohio, play an essential role in safeguarding the rights and freedoms of Gallipolis and whereas it is important that all citizens know and understand the duties, responsibilities, hazards and sacrifices of their law enforcement agency and that members of our law enforcement agency remember their duties to serve the people by safeguarding life and property, by protecting them against violence and disorder, and by protecting the innocent against deception and the week against oppression,” said Gallagher.
Gallagher commented how police provide a vital public service for the citizens in their jurisdiction. Commission member and former Gallipolis police officer Mike Fulks said he had approached the city several years ago to see if the commission would observe the memorial day practices. He said it has slowly grown into a larger affair over the years and that he appreciated the public for its support, as well as Ohio Valley Bank for providing a meal for the officers present for the day’s events.
“Last year, (there were) 42 law enforcement fatalities (nationally),” Fulks said. “Five months into the year, this year, we’re up to 36 already. Last night in New Jersey there were two officers attacked and shot. Thankfully, we’re a small community where the public takes care of our guys and they take care of the public. We appreciate and have a great bunch of guys who do an awesome job working seven days a week no matter what the weather is. They deserve all of our respect.”
Still was then awarded the Officer of the Year award by Boyer. Officers of the Year are elected by colleague officers. Still for the past year led fellow officers in arrests and received the city’s life-saving award for responding to a structure fire with fellow officers in March. Boyer said that Still went into the structure, found the victim in the smoky building and drug her to the front door of the residence before being assisted by fellow officers to help save the woman’s life.
County Commissioner Brent Saunders offered a prayer for the coming meal before officers sat down to eat.
Dean Wright can be reached at (740) 446-2342, Ext. 2103.