Remembering the fallen: police find new way to honor officers killed in the line of duty
GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - Green Bay Police squad cars have a new look to them now.
They now bear a large sticker on the back, honoring officers across the U.S. killed in the line of duty this year.
Those names are now visible for everyone to see.
The stickers are black, with a thin blue line and white lettering.
It’s a simple look with a bold message.
“The name is tied to a person, not a position, not a title, not a job function. That is a person that died in the line of duty,” explains Green Bay Police Captain Ben Allen.
Just before 9/11, Allen received a notification that an officer who’d responded to the World Trade Center 19 years ago had died from exposure during recovery efforts in 2001.
“And I thought, what can we do to make sure all of these officers who died this year aren’t forgotten?” says Allen.
It led to to this project.
More than three dozen stickers now each bear the names of four officers killed in 2020 while serving their communities.
The number of deaths is currently at 150 and climbing.
Allen discovered it’s an especially high number this year.
“Kind of heart-breaking as well, over 100 cops have died this year from COVID, and it was found those were exposures on duty, so that was another piece,” says Allen. “We’re out there working 24 hours a day, seven days a week, regardless of COVID.”
Because of the coronavirus, the memorial services police hold each year to honor those killed, both in Green Bay and at the national memorial in Washington D.C., didn’t happen.
This is a way for current officers and the community to remember the fallen every day.
“A lot of it is to just make sure their sacrifice isn’t lost in the chaos that’s happened,” adds Allen.
And just as important, it’s sends a silent message to officers as they walk to those squads before each shift.
“Just a reminder to them that the people that went before them paid that ultimate sacrifice, and did it selflessly, just like they’re doing every day,” he says.
A community member paid for the entire project.
Most, but not all squads bear the names of the fallen, but as more officers are killed, they’ll print more stickers and them to more squad cars.
They’ll honor those officers until police week next May when they’ll remove them and add the names of new officers they don’t want forgotten.
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