Sheriff’s Office remembers fallen comrades

It doesn’t attract a lot of media attention – but, discover why this annual remembrance is particularly meaningful…especially as we approach Memorial Day …

Multnomah County Sheriff’s Deputy Steve Harris stands guard in front of the Bureau’s memorial, commemorating those who have died in the line of duty.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
In 1962, then-President John F. Kennedy proclaimed May 15 to be “National Peace Officer’s Memorial Day”. Within a week of that date each year, the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) holds a Memorial Service.

The solemn gathering takes place at the MCSO Law Enforcement Memorial, located in outer East Portland at the Hansen Building on NE Glisan Street.

MCSO Chief Deputy Mike Shults welcomes attendees to the Memorial Ceremony.

Before the ceremony, Sheriff Daniel Staton spoke with East Portland News, and shared why he feels it’s important to continue this tradition.

“This is a time for us to remember, and also remind citizens of the sacrifices the public safety officers make. Because of the oath we take, we are ready to put ourselves in harm’s way every day; its part of our responsibility to the community we serve.”

The multi-jurisdictional Honor Guard stands ready to join the program.

MCSO Deputy Jonelle Olszewski sings the National Anthem.

Staton continued, “On this day, we also remember that we have been given a tremendous responsibility by our citizens – and by our entire judicial system – to keep the peace. We serve as the frontline buffer between criminal elements and our citizens; without us in place, caring for our community, ultimately our society would fall into chaos.”

Chief Deputy Mike Shults provided opening remarks, recognizing dignitaries and law enforcement leaders from nearby jurisdictions.

“On this day, we remember the meaning of sacrifice,” Shults reflected.

The Honor Guard salutes the flag.

The Honor Guard – comprised of law enforcement officers from the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office, Portland Police Bureau, Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office, and the Clark County and Gresham police departments – brought forward the colors.

MCSO Deputy Jonelle Olszewski sang the National Anthem so beautifully, it put tears in the eyes of even the most unemotional observers. Law enforcement officers saluted, and all guests put hand over heart, as the colors were raised.

Multnomah County Sheriff Daniel Staton gives his Memorial Service address.

Sheriff Staton gave brief remarks, remembering not only those who had fallen in duty, but also their families left behind. He also honored those who have been wounded, and also those who had retired and “faded into obscurity after many years of faithful and dedicated service.”

The “Placing of the Wreath” was followed by Undersheriff Tim Moore “Reading the Roll” of those fallen in service, and the ceremonial folding of the flag.

For all who attended, it was a time to reflect upon the service given by our law enforcement personnel, and to be thankful for the services they render – and sacrifices they make.

Peace officers from many area jurisdictions prepare to fire a 21-gun salute in honor of all fallen comrades.

© 2012 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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