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Eastern remembers fallen police officers

Published on May 23, 2022

Eastern remembers fallen police officers

Members of the Willimantic and Eastern police departments attended the ceremony.

Eastern Police Chief Stephen Taveres '96 gives remarks.

The Foster Clock tower was illuminated blue in honor of National Police Week from May 15-21.

Kemesha Wilmot, interim dean of students, hangs the memorial wreath.

On May 20, Eastern Connecticut State University students, faculty and staff gathered outside Campus Police headquarters to participate in Police Appreciation Day. In 1962, President John F. Kennedy signed a proclamation designating May 15th as Peace Officers Memorial Day and the week in which that date falls as Police Week. The proclamation honors police officers who have died in the line of duty.

Police Chief Stephen Tavares ’96 welcomed those gathered and thanked them for continuing to support the department’s efforts to maintain public safety on campus. “It is estimated that there are approximately 800,000 sworn law enforcement officers in the United States,” said Tavares. “We are here today to remember the 107 federal, state, local, tribal and territorial peace officers who paid the ultimate sacrifice in 2022.

“In Connecticut’s history, 154 peace officers have lost their lives in the line of duty. Never to be forgotten are the families of the fallen. The families of the fallen mourn every day. Every year during the month of May, we get to show our respect by honoring the fallen and their loved ones.”

Tavares then asked those in attendance to observe a moment of silence to honor all fallen peace officers.

Since 2013, a member of the campus community has been selected to lay the memorial wreath. This year, the honor went to Kemesha Wilmot, interim dean of students. Tavares said Wilmot has worked closely with the department’s staff and has supported campus safety and community policing efforts.

As Wilmot laid the wreath, Michelle Delaney, interim vice president for student affairs, said, “This wreath is being laid in memory and in honor of all the fallen peace officers of our national law enforcement community. It is symbolic of the grief of the nation. Today, we honor and pay respect to the officers who have paid the ultimate sacrifice. We don’t forget.”

Campus Ministry’s Father Larry LaPointe said fallen officers held “the highest rank” in the fraternity of police officers and asked that everyone present at the memorial service “hold them up in our hearts today.”

Written by Dwight Bachman