Sheriff’s Office Memorial honors fallen officers

There aren’t long speeches given at this annual ceremony. But, see why this tribute’s program is moving, to those who serve – and there’s an important reminder for the populace they protect …


Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office deputies and command staff gather for a group photo, before the Memorial Service begins.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
The bright sunshine that warmed outer East Portland on the afternoon of May 12 did little to lighten the somber reason for the gathering in front of the Hansen Building on NE Glisan Street – as Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) command staff, deputies and families came together for their annual Memorial Service.

From the street, it’s easy not to notice the white granite obelisk that stands in front of the building’s entrance; but the “Memorial to our Members Died in the Line of Duty” plaque mounted on it was the center of attention of this service

This somber obelisk, in front of the Hansen Building, is the focal point of the annual MCSO Memorial Service.

Honor Guard members here are from the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office, Portland Police Bureau, Clackamas County Sheriffs Office, Clark County Sheriffs Office, and Gresham Police Department.

“Today, we are celebrating a memorial for our fallen officers,” Multnomah County Sheriff Daniel Staton, said before the program began.

“It’s a very special time for us. This tradition goes all the way back to when President John Kennedy was in office,” Staton told East Portland News. “He recognized the importance of honoring our fallen law officers. If it wasn’t for him, this memorial service would not be taking place today.”

It’s important to remember peace officers who have been lost, the sheriff said. “We also remember the families, because of the sacrifices they have made, and in some cases the loved ones they have lost, over the years. Really, there is no way to repay.”

Beyond that, Staton added, “We also remember people who have retired after serving their community for a long time, and have passed away.  Part of this is to memorialize their service as well.”

Representatives of the law agencies who comprise the Color Guard “Post the Colors” as the program begins.

Deputy Jonelle Olszewski sings the National Anthem beautifully, powerfully, and with conviction.

During his opening remarks, Chief Deputy Michael Schults said, “We are all here, because they chose to make sacrifices, if necessary, to keep their communities safe.”

MCSO Chaplain Ed Stelle invoked “the blessing of God on all peace officers”.

Multnomah County Sheriff Daniel Staton addresses the gathering.

During his formal talk, Station observed, “I want you to ask yourself why peace officers choose public safety as a profession.  Ask yourself why they sacrifice the way they do.

“I have come to realize that those who come to public safety have chosen to take on the most honest and awesome responsibility in our communities,” Staton continued. “Today we remember, and we honor, and we defend, what we endure.”

Ending the “Flag Ceremony”, Sheriff Daniel Staton accepts the folded American Flag he then places in front of the memorial obelisk.

The Honor Guard offers a “21-Gun Salute”.

After Under Sheriff Tim Moore performed the “reading of the roll”, the Color Guard performed the Ceremony of the Flag, a 21-gun salute, and the playing of “Taps”.

We at East Portland News thank all of those in public safety – both sworn and unsworn – for their dedication and sacrifice in service to their communities.

© 2014 David F. Ashton – East Portland News

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